Black Men and Public Space - Black Men and Public Space...

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Black Men and Public SpaceStaples convinces his readers that he is altering public space by providing various, detailed examples and anecdotes to demonstrate this phenomenon. For example, the entire first paragraph is an anecdote: Staples describes how one evening, a woman perceives him as a threat simply because he is a young, tall, African American man. He illustrates the fear he senses from her when he writes, “She cast back a worried glance. To her, the youngish black man…seemed menacingly close” (Staples 205). Later on in the essay, he provides other instances of when his presence changes the environment such as when people lock their car doors as he walks by, when they do not pass by him on the streets, and when policemen constantly scrutinize him. Although Staples does not mean any harm, people instantly fear him because of the stereotypes associated with his ethnicity; the mindset that African American males are criminals or are dangerous has become a social norm.

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