Brent Staples' Describes Discrimination of Black Men Through his Writing

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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. The way Staples structures this essay emphasizes his awareness of the problem he faces. The essay’s framework consists mostly of Staples informing the reader of a scenario in which he was discriminated against and then following it with a discussion or elaboration on the situation. This follow-up information is often an expression stating comprehension of his problem and than subtitle, logical criticisms toward it. For example, Staples describes women “fearing the worst of him” on the streets of Brooklyn. He then proceeds to declare that he understands that “women are particularly vulnerable to street violence, and young black males are drastically overrepresented among the perpetrators of that violence.” Staples supports this statement with information about how he had witnessed gang violence in Chester, Pennsylvania and saw countless black youths locked away, however, Staples pronounces that this is no excuse for holding every young black man accountable, because he was an example of a black man who “grew up one of the good boys” coming “to doubt the virtues of intimidation early on.” This narrative structure highlights that Staples is not a hypocrite because he is not show ignorance toward the problem he is addressing unlik... ... middle of paper ... ...hat he was completely undeserving of the inequitable allegations that the populace made toward his character. In the first sentence of the essay, Staples discusses his first “victim.” His use of this word at first provokes the reader to think that the author was a criminal, which illustrates the same mistake many other people had made in the real world. Staples realizes that, ultimately, there is nothing he can do about discrimination despite his innocence. Through his narrative structure, selection of detail, and manipulation of language, Staples demonstrates his understanding of his presence threatening pedestrians. Discrimination is not uncommon, and, sadly, this distorted world will never be rid of it. However, one should still strive to get to know someone before making assumptions about them, as the old saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover.”

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