The paper "Black Men and Public Spaces by Brent Staples" is a delightful example of an article on social science. By looking into the social atmosphere of the multicultural states of the globe at large, it becomes evident that an insentience ray of anxiety, fright, and hatred always exists in the environment of these regions. It is partly due to the very reality that an unseen rivalry exists in multinational societies; consequently, an overwhelming majority of the masses appears to be quite unconsciously fearful of the abrupt assault from the individuals belonging to the purported rival ethno-racial groups.
Brent Staples (1986) has pointed out the same situation in his essay under-examination. He is of the view that people generally develop some ideas about and images of the individuals belonging to divergent ethno-racial groups and aptly treats them in the same stereotype reflection they have developed for them in their imagination. It is particularly the case with the young, tall and stout African American males, which are frequently looked at with great suspicion by the society at large. (1) The author has cited several examples from his personal life experiences, where the white members of society, especially the women, got frightened while coming across the black muscular men in some lonely places.
(1-2) Hence, the presence of a youngish black man with a beard and billowing hair caused a bout of insomnia in the hearts of lonely ladies. (2) However, being an educated, well-groomed and responsible citizen and a dedicated professional as well, the author has strived to abate such feelings the white people grew in their minds for his community in general.
(2-3) The author argues how such feelings of anxiety the white people exhibited appeared to be weird for him in the beginning; somehow, with the passage of time, he became accustomed to the very situation; as a result, he started observing normalcy on discovering fears and perils on the countenances of the people. (2) He got acquaintance with the bitter reality that he was not one and the only person to invite fretfulness and apprehensions in the minds of the other racial groups; rather, the people were afraid of almost all young black men with tall height and stout physique wandering in the streets in the wee night hours.
Staples also narrates the tales of his fellow journalist, who was repeatedly taken as criminal, burglar or murderer even instead of the reporter or journalist standing at a crime spot for coverage of a mishap or distressing incident took place in the recent past at some locality. (4) Such type of behavior, and people’ s frightening gestures at the sight of a heightened, strong and muscular black male, was not confined to one city or region only.
On the contrary, the same incidents were appeared and experienced in various areas of the United States during the author’ s stay for personal and professional activities. (3) For instance, Staples observed the fear at the face of a young white lady while coming across her in Chicago. The lady was leading the author in a street at night and mistakenly took him as her chaser, who would harm her by raping or assaulting the hapless female during the dark night hours. The author also found the same harassment on the faces of the white people while his wandering in the streets of New York, Manhattan, Illinois and Brooklyn, where the public at large, especially the white men and women, reacted his presence in an awkward, unpleasant and fearful manner.
The writer narrates how he used to start singing and whistling during his roving at night, in order to calm down the anxiety of the passers-by, who could never welcome his presence in the environment because of his appearance. (5) It was actually owing to the stereotype image they had labeled on the individuals coming of some specific age-group, gender, race, ethnicity and social class that they always looked at the labeled person within the same perspective they had developed in their mind for them.
One of the most troublesome issues before the author and other black individuals was the suspicious behavior of the police personnel towards them, as the police also looked at them with somewhat colored spectacles, and their presence at the crime spot as journalists or general public turned out to be niggling and bothersome for the poor fellows.
(6) Since man can make alterations in his appearance with the help of appropriate dresses, kempt hair, neat and clean countenance, sophisticated mannerism and sober behavior, he is unable to bring alterations his age, height, facial features, and physical strength altogether. Thus, at the eve of a precarious state of affairs, Staplers and other young black professionals used to join the people of their acquaintance just for the sake of providing mental relief to others and for escaping any unpleasant state of affairs imminent to be taken place in the wake of the crime committed in their surroundings as well.
Consequently, they had to keep themselves at safe distance at public space particularly during their movements in the streets and roads in the wee hours of the night in order to avoid unpleasantness sure to come about because of their appearance and ethno-racial background. He used to maintain unnerving gulf laid between nighttime pedestrians--particularly women. (4) It was especially the case while his stay in central Manhattan, where the near-constant crowd cover minimizes tense one-on-one street encounters.
(5) However, Staples used to display extreme perseverance in order to avoid untoward situation subsequently.