Analysis of Black Men and Public Space Article Review

Brent Staples, an editor for New York Times newspaper, pens about residence days in Chicago, when he was a college student and his battle with the community, in an essay he titles “Black Men and Public Space”.


Amongst the many factors influencing our view about men and women, the most dominant and prevalent is the media. Interwoven all through our everyday lives, the media allude their content into our perceptions in every single turn. The existing media forms transmit imageries of the genders, most of which propagate unreal, hackneyed stereotypes, and limited views. There exist diverse kinds of media both in print and electronic media and includes; newspapers, TV shows, movies, radios, promotions and adverts on the internet. These diverse kinds of media have imageries of both men and women presented in different ways and characterized differently. Brent Staples, an editor for New York Times newspaper, pens about residence days in Chicago, when he was a college student and his battle with the community, in an essay he titles “Black Men and Public Space”. He presents a stereotypic conception of race, particularly the black man in the US, that they face public conception of them as murderers, criminals, and hence making them live in fear. In this paper, I seek to analyze my experiences and show how Brent Staple’s assertions have distorted the view people has about my race, in portraying us as racists.

The topic race is usually associated with diverse emotions, perceptions, and opinions for very many years. Persons of diverse racial backgrounds for example Africans have been prejudiced upon and dealt with basing on their birthplace or race, from the beginning of times. Amongst the distinguished American writers of African descent, Brent Staples is considered one of them. He battled against the negative stereotype painting of Africans in public places by use of his article titled “Black Men and Public Space”. He applies various rhetoric usages to increase the appeal of how he describes his experience as an African/Black man in public places.

However, I have been framed as a racist in Staples’ article. I strongly disagree with how he claims that black people are mistreated by the white people. Being white, I feel that my personality has been tainted and my dignity flashed away as Staples struggle to justify how white people like me are racist. I am a friendly and peaceful person and appreciate all people from all works of life despite the race they come from. Moreover, I come from a society where people from different races live together in harmony. In his essay, Brent Staples has further portrayed me as a white American to be oppressive and discriminative. That is one massive misconception and travesty that black individuals possess against white individuals. It is a common belief by many that white Americans display stereotypes based on race and certainly judge people with basis on their skin color regardless of their varied aspects of life, which I strongly disagree.

I feel this representation is totally inaccurate because it gives a negative picture of my personality which is very different from my actual personality. I feel like my dignity has been taken away from me completely. I am human just like anyone else, always live the righteous way in harmony with the black Americans. I have never had such bad intentions for another human being because they are only black. I have always treated black men as my brothers and Staples portraying me as a racing is inappropriate. In the article, Staple claims that despite black people working hard to achieve success in their lives, most of the white Americans many times will conclude unjustly about them, and similarly victimize the black people. Concerning this assertion, I feel this is based on his personal opinion and is so inappropriate and undignified. This article has portrayed me as a custodian of social injustices.

As much as Staples has unapologetically presented me and the white Americans in his article, it can have serious consequences. First, this misrepresentation can stir up hatred among the two races, the black and white Americans.  It is disappointing to be openly misrepresented and get your reputation damaged. And when such a thing happens, the ones misrepresented are likely to stage revenge. Secondly, this can fuel racism. Misrepresentation creates a bad image for the targeted race that will feel offended and plan to strike back too.

            Furthermore, Staples has deliberately evoked my feelings through the use of pathos, augmenting the spontaneous personal ambiance he has created using his narrations and experiences as a black person in the public space. I am enraged the more by his schemes particularly when he recounts a certain day, where he was walking late in the night, he ends up behind a white lady, who on spotting him, sprinted immediately, reckoning that Staples could have been ensuing her since he was a black person (Staples, 143). Frequent use of terms as mean and victim are used by Staple, to create an image in his audience’s thoughts that immediately the woman saw him behind her, in some way, she had to respond in a negative manner. The setting here was meant to elicit a guilty feeling in me, but in its place, I ended up empathizing with the writer’s degrading demonstration. In addition, touched as Staples acclaimed that he came to familiarize with the behaviors, even though he never became contented (Staples, 144). The particular statement paints a bad picture of me, as non-friendly and non-reliable individual such that black individuals should not be comfortable whenever they are around us the white Americans.

Staples have similarly used unrelated evidence in his quest for justification of his assertions aimed at winning the trust of his audience. To me, it is incredible that one should lay blame for discrimination on the white people, but a caricature of facts that seems out of the way. His comprehension matters on racism quite frankly, fascinate me in its shallowness. Not only are his arguments distorted, but they are also non-justifiable. He further proceeds to boast about him and a few others who were well brought up, to be good boys (Staples, 144). This is meant to mock the white boys and subsequently, portray white boys as brought up in a bad way. Staples consistent referral to how harsh his background was is with a view to utilizing his historical background to appeal to his audience, and by extension portray the white person as bad and unfriendly person. He points at me as a cause for the harsh background he grew and lived in. Integrating such kind of ideologies in his narratives and understandings as a black person in the public domain does not only affirm the bias of the article but also generate mistrust from the audience regarding whatever information he is passing across.

            Staples, however, sufficiently support his claims by evidently using logos near the culmination of his article when he uses the analogy of a cowbell worn by hikers with knowledge of their presence in a country of bears (Staples, 145). He carefully convinces the audience when he reveals the disparity of the cowbell worn by hikers in countries of bears, particular for this case likens the cowbells to “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi while bears are typical Caucasian Americans who discriminate others racially. Apparently, he in a way agrees a racist is not defined by his skin color but gives chance the fact that racism could be an inherent behavior in a person.


In order to win the trust of my audience and manage to convince them, I will need to use to exclusive strategies that entail usage of diverse approach geared towards a rational perspective. For example, I will use diction which is factual. I will avoid over exaggerations and as well state the exact statistics but rather efficiently articulate my information my target audience. I will make use of an appropriate and convincing tone to attract my audience. However, I concur with him when he asserts violent offenders are significantly black males of young age (Staples, 144). I would further advocate for a study to be conducted to research on the prevalence of racial stereotyping and discrimination in order to logical facts that are not overrated.

Staples is aware of his contradicting assertions and has therefore made efforts to justify his point that I am a staunch racist. I still strongly disagree with his argument as he has misrepresented my identity negatively. I personally feel that his arguments about my personality are totally different. He has portrayed me as a racist, discriminative, untrustworthy and oppressive and against black men. Contrary to what Staples has portrayed me to be, I am a non-racist, caring, trustworthy and loving person. I do not despise people due to their skin color. It is therefore significant for all readers to understand the difference between the image of me portrayed by Staples’ article and with my actual image. This two-argument portrays two different contrasting personalities. Readers should understand that in as a much as some writers in the media represents a true account of the experience, the fact about racism goes beyond skin color. Readers should seek to understand the personality of an individual and avoid making general conclusions about a group of individuals. The media should be a platform upon which readers from different ethnical backgrounds are able to meet and exchange ideas on how best to better our lives and humanity by extension.