Black Men and Social Space

Black Men and Social Space - Natalie Cook Personal Essay 23...

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Natalie Cook Personal Essay, 23 June 2008 Personal Response to “Black Men and Public Space” by Brent Staples I felt very comfortable while reading Staples’ essay. With just a few occasions of eyebrow-raising, I, for the most part, nodded in solidarity with the author. I find Staples’ opening phrase, “my first victim,” to be interesting and even ironic, because it seems as though he is admitting to having posed a threat to someone. I found the author’s ironic and sometimes even satiric tone to be honest and intriguing for the reader. A New Yorker myself, I too have been a “victim” of the Staples character, or rather, the other way around. I have to admit that my heart has raced at the sight of a pack of dark-skinned, “baggy-jeansed,” guys approaching me. What do I do? I make a miscellaneous phone call to God-knows-who, my long lost friend who lives in God- knows-where, just to avoid having to communicate or even make eye contact. Or maybe I speed up. Or maybe I cross the street—quickly. It is not that I am racist against my own
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