Staples Essay

“Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space” by Brent Staples

1449 Words6 Pages

In Brent Staples’ "Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space," Staples describes the issues, stereotypes, and criticisms he faces being a black man in public surroundings. Staples initiates his perspective by introducing the audience in to thinking he is committing a crime, but eventually reveals how the actions taken towards him are because of the fear linked to his labelled stereotypes of being rapists, gangsters and muggers. Staples continues to unfold the audience from a 20 year old experience and sheds light onto how regardless of proving his survival compared to the other stereotypical blacks with his education levels and work ethics being in the modern era, he is still in the same plight. Although Staples relates such burdens…show more content…

Staples talks about a black male journalist who, while writing a report about a murderer that was from a town in Illinois, was held at gun point by police authorities assuming he was the killer because of a call made by the public’s perception. Staples went through false assumptions daily. Likewise, the women "set their faces on neutral... [and] forg[ed] ahead as though bracing themselves against being tackled." (Staples 384) and the “thunking” of door locks as he crossed the streets didn't make that stereotype any less of a hurt. He came through to explain how "over the years he learned to smother the rage [he] felt so often [of] being taken for a criminal"; ultimately he had to mend his ways and initiates ways of being out looked from those labels. A strong argument for the false stereotypes of all black men being involved in criminal and sexual acts is displayed by Ulrich Boser in "The Black Man's Burden". Boser writes about how nine African American boys were falsely accused of raping two white females in March of 1931. Regardless of no signs of a rape taking place confirmed by doctors and the obviously poor work of the defending lawyer for the accused, the case continued and ended up sentencing the boys to jail. After they suffered years of torture, they were eventually released upon one of the

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"Just Walk on by" - Brent Staples Essays

1305 WordsNov 5th, 20126 Pages

Morgan Allen
Ms. Mayo
ENG 101-1035
30 October 2012
Just Walk on By In Brent Staples’ essay, “Just Walk on By” the author describes his experiences, feelings, and reactions towards the discrimination he has faced throughout his life as a black man. Staples describes several different personal experiences of when he felt that he had been judged or discriminated against by other people based on the color of his skin and how that contributed to his overall appearance. Staples has continuously been perceived as a danger or criminal simply because of his skin color, leading him to have to deal with many uncomfortable situations. The author has even gone so far as to take precautions when he is on the street just so that he will not be…show more content…

He compares himself to a shadow, helping describe the horrible persona that has been attached to him. He has no way of escaping the dangerous character that people have created for him. He later compares his whistling to cowbells, as a warning to the people around him. Staples whistles sophisticated tunes to lessen his dangerous persona. The use of metaphors is a common practice and it is very effective. Using metaphors as a literary device immediately paints a picture in a audience’s mind and makes envisioning the main character that much simpler. Comparing himself to a shadow connects a reader instantly with his personality and while he may be timid, it is also apparent that he has another side to him that everyone may not be aware of. I feel that the use of these metaphors help to lighten the mood of the essay and creates a more playful feeling throughout the essay. Along in with the author’s use of metaphors is the frequent use of imagery. In this reading, it is simple to envision the scenes as the different scenarios are explained and the audience can easily picture Staples in the places he is describing and also the people he comes across. Perhaps the most powerful and memorable imagery is provided in the author’s description of people’s different reactions and faces when they come into contact with him. Actions speak volumes and an immediate change of facial expression is possibly one of the

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