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 throughout the article, primarily he uses it to demonstrate that he is actually the victim in these situations rather than the women, he also uses it for black men in general as he tells stories of burying friends not even twenty years old. Staples also expertly uses pathos by conveying the emotions that Staples feels when being discriminated against. Staples also briefly uses logos in the form of acknowledging that black men are more likely to commit the crimes that the women are worried about, although it initially seems to contradict his argument, this actually helps others further accept his perspective as he shows others that he understands their concerns. Through a successful combination of ethos, pathos, and logos, Staples is able to convey his message of awareness and demonstrate a new perspective to his readers.
The most important element of Staples ability to convey his message is his use of ethos to redefine stereotypical definitions of himself and black men as a whole. He do...
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...e in the same situation, gently framing them as the perpetrator and himself the victim. From this common viewpoint, Staples is able to evoke emotions to strengthen the connection with his readers while employing logos to show that he understands why the reader acts the way they do. Throughout all of this he is also weaving in his feelings, enabling the reader to take his perspective as he explains to them the way their actions impact himself and his entire race and gender as people repeatedly discriminate against him. Though his goal of getting people to change their behavior is not explicitly stated, through the way he structured his article and the ability to display his emotions and connect with his reader, Staples has constructed a strong article that is able to convince people to reevaluate their decisions by having them experience the situations for themselves.
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