I am choosing to write about “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Spaces by Brent Staples”. His story is one I can feel sympathy for and is relatable to many people. The prejudice black people face is one that not many others do not have to deal with. That same prejudice makes their lives harder to live, and they shouldn’t have to change the way they live to make those around them feel safer. We are all human we should not fear those who look
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Throughout the United States’ history, race and racism has been a prominent part of society and unfortunately may never go away. It is important to address these issues and make them heard and to educate people. In short fiction stories, it is a common theme, especially those authored by African American writers who have had experience in society. In one particular piece of short fiction, “Recitatif”, the author Toni Morrison explores the effect, usually the theme of her stories, of race and racism using the youth during the 1960s and all the way up to the 1980s, mainly by confronting the common act of making assumptions about characters using character traits and historical events. In “Recitatif” the readers are intended to make an assumption
In Brent Staples’ "Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space," Staples describes the issues, stereotypes, and criticisms he faces being a black man in public surroundings. Staples initiates his perspective by introducing the audience in to thinking he is committing a crime, but eventually reveals how the actions taken towards him are because of the fear linked to his labelled stereotypes of being rapists, gangsters and muggers. Staples continues to unfold the audience from a 20 year old experience and sheds light onto how regardless of proving his survival compared to the other stereotypical blacks with his education levels and work ethics being in the modern era, he is still in the same plight. Although Staples relates such burdens through his personal experiences rather than directly revealing the psychological impacts such actions have upon African Americans with research, he effectively uses emotion to explain the social effects and challenges they have faced to avoid causing a ruckus with the “white American” world while keeping his reference up to date and accordingly to his history.
The author of Black Men and Public Space, Brent Staples, is an African American man who has a PhD in psychology from the University of Chicago and he is a member of the New York Times editorial board. Staples published an article that described several personal experiences in which he felt that the people around him were afraid of his presence. Staples’ purpose is to bring to light the prejudice that exists in everyday life for African Americans. In Black Men and Public Space, Staples appeals to pathos by using imagery and strong diction, and he uses a somber yet sarcastic tone to portray his message.
More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (Issues of Our Time)
In the short essay, “Black Men in Public Space” written by Brent Staples, discusses his own experiences on how he is stereotyped because he is an African American and looks intimidated in “public places” (Staples 225). Staples, an intelligent man that is a graduate student at University of Chicago. Due to his skin complexity, he is not treated fairly and always being discriminated against. On one of his usual nightly walks he encountered a white woman. She took a couple glances at him and soon began to walk faster and avoided him that night. He decided to change his appearance so others would not be frightened by his skin color. He changed the way he looked and walked. Staples dressed sophisticated to look more professional so no one would expect him to be a mugger. Whistling classical music was referred to the “cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country”(Staples 226). The cowbell is used to protect hikers from bears. But in Staples case, it was to not be stereotyped and show that he is harmless. The general purpose of Staples essay was to inform the readers that stereotypes could affect African Americans and any other races.
In his article “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space”, which first appeared in the women’s magazine Ms. Magazine and later Harpers, Brent Staples explores the discrimination he faced as a black man living in Chicago and New York. In writing this piece, Brent Staples hoped to use a combination of pathos and ethos to demonstrate to the women that read Ms. Harper’s that Staples is actually the victim when the women treat him the way they do and to get these women to view him, and other black men, differently and to make them realize that they are people too. Staples use of his ethos and pathos serve well to support his position and convince others to take a new perspective. Staples uses ethos in multiple ways
James Baldwin's youth was the catalyst for his fight against racism as an adult. James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924 in Harlem, New York City (”James Baldwin Biography”). Baldwin’s mother, Emma Berdis Jones, left his biological father after he was born. Jones went on to remarry a preacher, David Baldwin. David Baldwin had a very strained relationship with his children, including James, on account of the bitterness and hatred he constantly sheltered. In one of his first non-fiction books, James Baldwin wrote,”I do not remember, in all those years, that one of his children was ever glad to see him come home” (Baldwin 3). This bitterness and hatred was not something he was born with, it was the result of a lifetime of racial harassment and
Amina Gautier has been awarded with Best African American Fiction and New Stories from the South; in addition, she has successfully created At Risk. Gautier’s story is based on the African American community and the different types of struggle families can realistically face. However, if a white person would have written this exact story it could have been misinterpreted and considered racist. Stereotypes such as fathers not being present, delinquencies and educational status are presented in the various short stories.
Fueled by fear and ignorance, racism has corrupted the hearts of mankind throughout history. In the mid-1970’s, Brent Staples discovered such prejudice toward black men for merely being present in public. Staples wrote an essay describing how he could not even walk down the street normally, people, especially women, would stray away from him out of terror. Staples demonstrates his understanding of this fearful discrimination through his narrative structure, selection of detail, and manipulation of language.
“Just Walk On By” started out as Staples’ sad life story, but turned into the story of a man who eventually came to terms with the difficulties he would deal with in his life, and he faced them with a positive attitude. “Complexion,” unfortunately, ended with Rodriguez feeling self-defeated and believing he would never find a resolution to his problem. He did not want to ignore the issue of his skin color, but let it slowly take over his life. Seeing them side-by-side, these essays start out with the same problem, but eventually go in completely different directions near the end. Staples and Rodriguez dealt with the racism and social judgment on the inside and both had radically different resolutions.
In the two essays, “Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space” by Brent Staples and “I’m Not Racist But…” by Neil Bissoondath, there are both differences and similarities. The two authors differ in their opinion on the causes of racism and life experiences involving racism, but are similar in regards to the use of stereotypes in the world
The book, I will be writing about is The Bully by Paul Langand. I am done with the book which explains about a boy moving to California. The cover reminds me about kids fighting. I wanted to get a deep comprehension throughout the story. I choose this book for children have been facing everyday day.
During English class this year, we studied and explored through literature and film, how racism and prejudice have affected and shaped our past, present and near future. Through books such as To Kill a Mockingbird, American Born Chinese, House on Mango Street and movies like White/Black, my perspective on the topic of racism opened up and changed. Before this study, I had not realized how so much of American history has been shaped by racism and prejudice and how it continues to impact present times. By reading House on Mango Street, and To Kill a Mocking Bird I was exposed to how racism impacted the lives of the characters and by reading and watching American Born Chinese, and White/Black I was made aware of how racism still occurs today. I found it shocking how serious and complex the problem of racism continues to be, and how many people are affected by it daily. An example of the media that really altered my perspective was when our class watched the documentary called White/Black. In this documentary, they found a white family and a black family willing to have makeup artists change their looks so that the white family looked like a black family and the black family, a white one. One of the requirements was that each family had to live with the other for the duration of the documentary. When the white family came into the shared house, the mother said that they should make sure they protect their personal belongings, because she feared the black family might steal them. By doing so, she revealed deep prejudices and a racist misconception that being black is associated with being a criminal. Another example was when the father of the black family, who looked “white” went into a golf store to buy shoes and play golf. Afterward he said that he was treated so differently because he appeared “white”. Both these scenes shocked me because I had never realized how large of a problem racism continues to be today and how it affects almost everyone.
In the poem “On the Subway,” written by Sharon Olds, she introduces the dissimilarities between blacks and caucasians, whom have had a complicated past with one another. In this poem, Olds reflects on the many common stereotypes that those in the black community endure, as well as emphasizing their major differences among society. The speaker of this poem presents her fear with a young African-American male who is sitting across from her on the subway. Olds uses literary devices such as tone, imagery, and similes to better understand the cultural differences between both individuals.