Essay about Black Men and Public Space

Dylan Cruz English
12/23/11
Black Men and Public Space In ?

Black Men and Public Space? , Brent Staples writes about how he was treateddifferently at various times due to being African ± American. Staples uses exposition to helpshow the various times where people acted differently when they saw him all due to his race. From confrontations on the street to being confused for a robber as he was rushing to hand in anarticle for a magazine, it is clear that he is treated unfairly. Staples uses cause and effect to showhow he does things differently now, hoping that people may see him in another light.
He alsocompares and contrasts how some situations would be different if he were of a different race. Histone and diction throughout the work is also interesting, as he does not seem angry about how heis being treated. Staples lists many examples throughout ? Black Men and Public Space? where he has been treated differently because of his race. When Brent had some down time, he decided to gointo a jewelry store. ?The proprietor excused herself and returned with an enormous redDoberman pinscher straining at the end of a leash.?
This is an excellent example of being treateddifferently. If any other person had gone in there the owner would not have reacted in the shedid. Another example he uses is when he first begins to notice that people see him differently. Hewas in college on walking on the streets late at night when he sees a woman walking in theopposite direction as he. ?It was clear that she thought herself the quarry of a mugger, a rapist, or worse.? These examples Staples brings forward clearly show that he is treated unfairly just because of his skin color.
Staples also uses other rhetorical strategies throughout his work, including cause andeffect and as well as comparing and contrasting. After seeing all the situations in which he isunfairly judged, he begins to do things hoping people will see past his skin color. He writes, ? Inow take precautions to make myself less threatening.? Now when he’s walking around a night,he whistles Beethoven and Vivaldi tunes, stating ? Virtually everybody seems to sense that amugger wouldn’t be warbling bright, sunny selections from Vivaldi’s
Four Seasons ?. Staplesalso compares and contrasts some situations, like how people treat him differently if they see himin business clothes versus seeing him in casual attire. The tone Staples uses in this work is very interesting. Even though he has been constantly judged by the color of his skin, he doesn’t seem very angry about it. The tone in this is verystraightforward and to the point. This may be because he’s realized that people are going to judge him, and he can’t do anything about it and just accept it.
Also, it’s happened to him on somany occasions that he has gotten used to it now. The diction he uses helps prove his point thathe’s not a bad person, as I don’t believe any muggers would use the wide vocabulary Staplesuses throughout his work. Even though Brent Staples gets judged just due to his skin color, it doesn’t seem bother him all that much. He’s able to see that it’s not him that scares people; it’s the stereotype that hisrace has attached to them. Through the use of examples and his unique tone, he is able to conveythis message in his writing.

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