Summary Of Brent Staples's 'Black Men And Public Space'

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In this narrative essay, Brent Staples provides a personal account of his experiences as a black man in modern society. “Black Men and Public Space” acts as a journey for the readers to follow as Staples discovers the many societal biases against him, simply because of his skin color. The essay begins when Staples was twenty-two years old, walking the streets of Chicago late in the evening, and a woman responds to his presence with fear. Being a larger black man, he learned that he would be stereotyped by others around him as a “mugger, rapist, or worse” (135). Staples describes his experiences in Chicago of being racially profiled, for example: people locking car doors as he walked by, people crossing to the other side of the street after seeing him, or police officers assuming him to be a threat. Then, Staples moved to Brooklyn and experienced similar responses, seen as “a fearsome entity with whom pedestrians avoid making eye contact” (136). The author first feels rage because of how he is treated.…show more content…
Brent Staples focuses on his own experiences, which center around his perspective of racism and inequality. This perspective uniquely encapsulates the life of a black man with an outer image that directly affects how others perceive him as a person. Many readers, including myself, have never experienced the fear that Staples encounters so frequently. The severity of his experiences was highlighted for me when he wrote, “It also made it clear that I was indistinguishable from the muggers who occasionally seeped into the area from the surrounding ghetto.” (135) Having to accept that fact as a reality is something that many people will never understand. It is monumentally important that Staples was able to share this perspective of the world so others could begin to comprehend society from a viewpoint different from their
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