Black Men In Public Spaces

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Jane Smith Professor Who ever. EN102 March 10, 2010 The Effect of Stereotypes on Black Men In, Black Men and Public Spaces, Brent Staples describes how it took him nearly 22 years to realize that black men were a part of a stereotypical and discriminatory world. As the main character, he talks about his experience, which is the universal symbol of the “black experience.” The title is ironic because public space is supposedly available to everyone, but socially speaking, that does not appear to be that way for black men, even in today’s society. He grabs the reader’s attention by declaring that his “first victim was a white woman.” In doing so, he has definitively set the tone of the paper using irony. He is, in fact, the victim—a victim of discrimination. By using the word “victim,” he has accepted the social perception that he is a perpetrator. With obvious disdain, he comes to realize the “unwieldy inheritance” of being born into a race with the unwarranted “ability to alter public space.” At this point in his life, he dislikes what he was born into because he is tired of people categorizing him as a mugger, rapist, and any other criminal without even knowing who he is truly. He thought of himself as a gentle and soft guy, and he is disgusted that people typecast him into this stereotype. In his first year away from home at the University of Chicago, he states that he became familiar with “the language of fear.” He is not referring to actually speaking it, but the behavior that is communicated through body language. It is communicated when he crosses the street at a light and hears the driver locking the doors immediately as he walks by. He understands the language of fear when he walks down the sidewalk and the other person crosses the street to avoid passing him. The language of fear resonates in the sounds and behavior of a people, which they use as
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