Staples’ “Black Men and Public Spaces” Strays Only Slightly

RuthAnn Milbert Instructor: Lynne Lerych May 4, 2010 English 101 Essay Review #2 Staples’ “Black Men and Public Spaces” Strays Only Slightly Brent Staples’ “Black Men and Public Spaces” narrative is about his realization of the fear that black men instill in persons of non color and his attempts at lessening that fear. Staples’ essay begins him recalling a time where a white woman ran from him simply because he was black.
He continues to explain that his intentions weren’t to cause her harm but had just happened to be walking behind her since he couldn’t sleep. Staples refers to publications by Norman Podhoretz and Edward Hoagland who had expressed their views on the same type of fear the woman who ran from him had experienced and although the fear was factually founded it didn’t give much comfort to Staples. Staples explains how black youths, mostly men, were more likely intimidate people because of their upbringing and tells how this generalization led to times where he was judged by color alone and thought to be a threat.
After Staples realizes and begins to understand the reasons behind this fear he began taking measures to make himself appear less threatening and by doing so he hoped to lessen the public fear of him. Staples’ essay definitely keeps the readers interest even if slightly straying from his thesis. Staples does a very nice job of keeping site of his main topic from the title to the conclusion only deviating slightly to give more background on the reasoning behind why black men tended to use the power of intimidation starting from birth.

His was objective, gave great expert opinions, and maintained a good flow throughout the essay. His thoughts of how he could lessen the publics fear of him at the end of the essay didn’t have much evidence to prove that his ideas were effective aside from his own personal experience where some people seemed to react more kindly towards him then in the past. Factors such as time passing and civil rights seem just as likely to be the reason for the publics fear lessening as Staples’ theory on whistling.

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