What It’s Like To Be A Black Man In A Public Space: Analysis Of Brent Staples’ Article

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

For over a thousand years, Race has and still is a topic that is associated with different emotions, views and thoughts. From the beginning of time, African Americans have always been judged and beaten simply because of the color of their skin or where they came from. Brent Staples himself went through the hardship of being judged due to his race, however since he’s a writer he was able to describe the stereotyping along with his article “Black Men and Public Space” which utilizes rhetorical uses that use appeals of his experiences as a black man in public spaces. In the article, Staples uses many excellent examples of racism and how it has made progress throughout the years, however remains present these days. He discusses how African Americans during that time were seen as monsters just for walking at night even when they were highly qualified with jobs and achieved their life goals. He uses many examples of how him and other African Americans were profiled and how the female ran off after seeing Staples during the nighttime. All this reveals that the White American population are empty headed but also how they judged the African Americans just because of the color of their skin and where they came from.

Brent Staples was born on September 13th 1951, in Chester, Pennsylvania. He grew up poor but managed to work hard and became a Psychologist, Journalist and Author. He taught Psychology classes in Chicago and moved to New York to become an editor at the New York Times. As a black man himself, Staples witnessed incidents of racial discrimination which led him to write “Black People in Public Spaces”. He gives examples to show how racism is still alive till this day despite the progress that has been made. The goal Staples was trying to get across was to expose the discrimination so that the public can stop this from continuing in society. Many rhetorical devices were used to get his point across. For example, he was sympathizing with his victims and their feelings, which appeals to ethos. He also provides historical background about his life and metaphors to appeal to logos. He is able to draw the emotions of his readers with his word choice and imagery to describe what he went through.

Throughout the article, Staples stirs the emotions of the audience by using pathos. He describes how one night he was walking and ended up behind a white woman who had noticed him and began sprinting because she thought he was a mugger or rapist. For instance, he says “It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls, that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I had come into, the ability to alter public space in ugly ways”. This shows how Staples pulls the emotions off the reader’s because he wants to show that all this is happening because the color of his skin. He also wants the reader feel guilty to gain an emotional reaction “I grew accustomed to but never comfortable”. This statement is important because it makes the reader feel the guilt and makes them feel like they’re in his shoes. This achieves Staples goal of showing his readers how bad racism is.

However, Staples uses the narratives and evidence to back up the stories he explained because he didn’t want to place all of the blame on the white population. With this, personally as a reader it gave reassurance to help gain trust in Staples because it shows how he feels about the situation. With this he gives information about his childhood and how he was surrounded by gang warfare, knife fights and murders “against the backdrop of gang and warfare and street murders”. With having such a tough background and having to grow up in fear, Staples managed to graduate from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in Psychology. This shows that he wanted his readers to see that his goal was to do great things and be a successful man even though having a difficult childhood. Staples last appeal he uses is ethos where he backs up his stories and experiences by talking about other experiences of other individuals who had similar encounters to Staples. This shows the credibility that Brent Staples provided within the experiences he had gone through with the audience because this is a common phenomenon that occurs.

Throughout this article Staples was able to get the message across that being racially discriminated by random people is something that nobody should go through. He uses ethos, logos and pathos to provide the audience with a look into the life of a black man. Using these techniques, Staples is able to get the emotions out of the readers and get responses as well as trying to put the readers in his shoes. With using all of the techniques he was able to accomplish his goal of making the audience see how bad racial stereotyping and discrimination and how it is still here till this day. 

Read more