Racial Stereotypes

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Not everyone has a special power to alter public space, but if the surroundings were different then people would probably have a very good sense about what is being said. In "Black Men and Public Space," Brent Staples claims that he is a black man who whenever in public is met with fear from his surroundings because of his racial stereotype. He points out that one can easily change physical behavior and dressing in order to alter public space in a good way or bad way. As Staples says, “Black men have a very bad reputation of being a mugger, a rapist or even worse” (336). Therefore, many people are afraid of them. Staples learned a way to change his perception or threat level to others by putting attention to his physical behavior. “A broad…show more content…
For example, when he wrote, “ I could cross in front of a car stopped at a traffic light and elicit thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, of the driver – black, white, male, or female – hammering down the door locks” (Staples, 336). The word “thunk” is used as a description of the insensitive attitude that the people in the car would have. This also shows the bias of people, even within his own race. Staples said he likes night walks. when a female would see him, she would not make eye contact and grab her purse tightly. This is done because of a stereotypical black male walking at night must mean he is up to no good. Much less to say women these days are getting mugged and raped more than ever so they have a right to be aware of their surroundings. Stereotyping is sadly carried on throughout generations. Stereotypes get tossed around within society even to this day. Generation after generation is being exposed to these harmful statements that endorse negativity. “It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I’d come into – the ability to alter public space in ugly ways” (Staples 336). Staples knows that somehow he has harmlessly become a threat to the public. He indicates that he is a victim of stereotyping simply because of his skin

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