Black Men And Public Spaces By Brent Staples Essay

Black Men And Public Spaces By Brent Staples Essay

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Racial prejudice began an undoubtedly winding journey, meandering through decade after decade. In the Norton Reader 14th Edition the personal narrative "Black Men and Public Spaces" by Brent Staples describes the multiple experiences he had with being racially stereotyped and how it affected not only him, but also other black men in society. His specific experiences become imperative to the meaning and all inclusive power of narrative, bringing to women 's attention that not all black men pose a threat. By revealing his emotions, Staples creates a multifaceted narrative expressing the effects of the misfortunate events of his life by using imagery and specific diction.
Through the use of specific diction Staples ' depicts the misfortunes he had to endure as a result of the racial stereotyping of black men. Using this element he creates a sense of fear throughout the beginning of his narrative. The use of the words "My first victim" elicits a feeling of angst and the thought that Staples has committed an unspeakable act (141). The reader is forced to think of Staples as the predator that people view him as. He wants readers to view him this way and to experience the fear that the woman feels in that very moment in order to create suspense, which in turn gives them a glimpse of society 's labeling of the black man. As we continue to read, readers have a clearer image of who the true victim is and that the only 'crime ' was that of labeling. Falsely accused to be a threat to the safety of those around him, Staples makes the decision to change the way he appears to better suit the society that he is now a part of. He makes this clear when he says, "I now take precautions to make myself less threatening" (143). He changes the way he...


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... Staples gives no indication that he is going to turn to the cars and rush towards them and try to attack the people, yet they lock their doors. Just like the woman in Hyde Park, they too judged him based off of his appearance never bothering to consider the fact that maybe just like any other person, he is just trying to cross the street and get to his destination.
The continuous racial stereotyping of Staples is brought to light throughout his personal narrative. Each experience that he has had from the young woman on the dark street to the civilians locking their car doors, provides insight to Staples world giving readers a chance to explore the hardships that not only he faces but also other black men in society. As Staples divulges his feelings on being classified based on his race, he builds a narrative that conveys how he and other black men are effected.

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