The “Black Men and Public Space” – an article written by Mr. Staples – brings out the insight concerning how deep racism was in the U.S. and how the African-Americans suffered a lot due to the perception that they all were criminals or had the wanting characters. This issue raises the question whether it is ethically correct to fear people, or rather segregate due to their color\race just because a few of them are involved in unethical activities. The author detested the way the white women took him for, as well as the general public, by generalizing that all blacks had criminal characters in them without even trying to understand them first. Many people argued that the way white women behaved toward the blacks was reasonable, but the researcher opposes to those views since the kind of isolation one got from being a suspect was unbearable.
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Mr. Staples is seen to have pleasure in having walks during nighttime in the casual clothing and unfortunately to him he occurred to reside in a mean, impecunious part of Chicago. He comes across a lady who after seeing him takes off immediately. Thus, the clear picture, which can be got from this incident, is that the society was full of prejudice, and this is still witnessed today: when a black person strolls around during nighttime – he is definitely after causing trouble or even committing crimes. In such a situation, people frequently do everything so as to evade the African-American at all cost: immediately go to the opposite side of the road or even cross a lane at an unusual area since they want to avoid coming in contact with him or close to his vicinity. Brent Staples’ essay in essence exhibits just what actually ensues to the blacks once they are strolling at night, or yet during the day. He extensively makes use of individual experiences and also narratives from friends and other blacks to provide evidence to the way the society was biased towards some races.
Staples starts his narrative describing how he came across a lady as they were both walking along a lane in Chicago. He observed that she continued picking up speed while walking behind her, and in due course reaching a sluggish running speed. In fact, within a matter of seconds the lady had vanished from his view, simply because of his black color. This first experience worried him much, and at that moment he learned of his capability of altering public space but in unpleasant ways.
Contrastingly, the author depicts himself to be a softy, who was actually unable to kill a chicken using a knife. This incident clearly shows how many humble and innocent Afro-Americans today are being mistaken for murderers, rapists, and even muggers just as Staples was suspected by that lady in Chicago. He further recognized that being supposed to be dangerous was a danger in itself. Indeed, all he required to carry out was just to go round a bend into a dreadful situation, or even crowd a few terrified, armed people, or else make a wayward budge at a law enforcement officer – and apparently he is able to end up injured or even deceased.
He comes to realize that the whole country had the same perception towards black men. This is seen when he relocates to Brooklyn, where women could not stare at him even when he passed by, and they always seemed to have their handbags clutched against their chests. Though he appeared to understand why the ladies acted in this manner towards him, it is quite disheartening and humiliating to see everyone treat you as if you were a criminal according to your skin color.
His non-violent character is attributed to his upbringing years, where he grew up in a neighborhood characterized by murderers, street knifing, and even gang warfare; and he seemingly decided to be a good boy after seeing his relatives, friends and numerous tough guys being locked away. Therefore, he took the option of remaining a shadow-shy, but at the end become a survivor.
The author poses several incidents showing his capability of altering public space: for instance, he is being seen as a robber after rushing into a magazine’s office where he was a journalist. The manager hurriedly calls the law enforcement officers, which manhandled him. Brent was let loose after finding someone in the building who knew him. Mistaken identity is evident, too, when he visits a jewels store, and the owner threatens him with a Doberman pinscher. Another interesting occurrence was when an African-American journalist was misconceived to be the killer while he was just covering the story. As follows, these shows the emotional and physical tortures the blacks undergo each day just in connection with their skin color and seemingly few people appear to condemn the issue.
The incidents narrated in the essay “Black Men and Public Space” by Staples are somewhat demeaning to the human race where people are judged by their skin rather than their individual characters. These happenings are true, and they occur throughout the country, and anyone can try to find out for oneself whether it is still happening or not. The Africa-Americans have equal rights with the whites as the Constitution demands. However, has the society changed its perceptions towards the blacks? This is an issue that ought to be put on the public domain and warn people against mistaken identities on the basis of skin color, and the stigmatization it causes just to avoid someone at the same reason.
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