Brent Staple: Black Men and Public Space
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How did Staples become aware of racial profiling and its consequences? In Brent Staples essay, “Black Men and Public Space,” Staples expresses the difficulties African Americans face in society. Through specific style and detailed description of imagery, Staples takes his experience throughout his life where he was negatively stereotyped as “a mugger, a rapist, or worse”. His lifelong exposure to this matter taught him to take precaution in the people he encounters and the places he visits. The words Staples choose to describe his occurrences are very powerful. They vividly construct how strongly society views his race. For instance, in the beginning of the essay where a frightened women’s reaction is described, he uses such words as “awkward, victim, roamers, oppression, ghetto, dangerous, hazard, dicey, fear, and weapon” to definitely illustrate his response to the women’s reaction.
Noticeably, none of the terms used suggest anything pleasant or rewarding. Although the community rejects to accept his normality as like everyone else, Staples remains to stay civil to his surrounding members. His reaction can be charted as unusual; whereas a normal person would fight back against his unfairly judgments. Readers develop a sense of disappointment towards him and that as well is also understandably marked in his essay through word choice. He states his knowledge with the “language of fear”. This fear includes the societies’ speculations of him just by his outer physicality. Although people think his appearance to be threatening and hazardous, Staples never mentions of any hatred or violent behaviors towards people that continue to treat him with prejudice.