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.
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.
In his essay, “On Being Black and Middle Class” (1988), writer and middle-class black American, Shelby Steele adopts a concerned tone in order to argue that because of the social conflicts that arise pertaining to black heritage and middle class wealth, individuals that fit under both of these statuses are ostracized. Steele proposes that the solution to this ostracization is for people to individualize themselves, and to ‘“move beyond the victim-focused black identity” (611). Steele supports his assertion by using evidence from his own life and incorporating social patterns to his text. To reach his intended audience of middle-class, black people, Steele’s utilizes casual yet, imperative diction.
Throughout history, as far back as one could remember, African- American men have been racially profiled and stereotyped by various individuals. It has been noted that simply because of their skin color, individuals within society begin to seem frightened when in their presence.In Black Men and Public Space, Brent Staples goes into elaborate detail regarding the stereotypical treatment he began to receive as a young man attending University of Chicago. He begins to explain incidents that took place numerous times in his life and assists the reader is seeing this hatred from his point of view. Staples further emphasizes the social injustices of people’s perception of African-American men to the audience that may have not necessarily experienced
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
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.
Wilson, William J. More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City. New York: Norton & Company, 2009. Print.
In “Black Men in Public Spaces” the author talks about multiply situation where he was treated different for being an African American. Staples said,” I entered a jewelry store on the city’s affluent near North side. The proprietor excused herself and returned with an enormous red Doberman pinscher straining at the end of a leash” (161.) Then there is “Right Place, Wrong Face, which is focused on and African American man that is wrongly accused of a crime because of his race. White said, “I was searched, stripped of my backpack, put on my knees, handcuffed, and told to be quieted when I tried to ask questions” (229.) The two articles have many similarities. Both articles have two educated African America men who get treated different because of their race. Staples and White both have situations where they are being stereotyped by society because there black
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