Brent Staples in his essay describes that that black people's presence in public places frightens the white people; he shows that the white people are not able to differentiate between a mugger and a black person. Or even a thug is not differentiable from a black person by the whites. By that time he lived, a lot of racism was going on in the United States of America. In his essay he gives examples of racism, like when a woman runs away from him. He also gives additional examples like the blacks being mistaken to be criminals, also cases of people locking their car windows whenever he would pass close to their cars.
Bren Staple realized that at his age of 22 his appearance was scaring the white people. Since that time, he started taking precautions that would ensure that the White people are not scared of him and that he doesnt make any white person feel uncomfortable. Some of the ,measures he did put in place were: he moved with care during the late evenings, he gave a wide berth to people who seemed nervous, he also exchanged business clothes to jeans and at the evening times he would try and reduce his tensions by whistling. Brent Staples says that he was brought up in a violent neighborhood. Despite him being keeping away from all the violent, the tough looking guys viewed him as a menace due to his Afro-American height.
He says that since most of the neighborhoods of the black people are characterized as thugs and criminals is the reason white people fear the black ones. But his main aim is to communicate that not all the black people are bad and that most people are good and do not have bad intentions.
The reaction of the first woman Brent Staples meets on the lonely street did not surprise me, I expect a woman to behave the same way to anyone that would be present to that at that kind of an instance. He presents himself as not potentially a threat, but the fact is he is in threatening situations. He might found himself in difficult circumstances like the police pulling him over despite having done no offense; this is because some of the people do judge first before asking the questions. I like the way Brent Staples never escalates the situation he finds himself in but tries to come it. I also admire how he acts calm when he is pulled over by the police officers. However despite him having the knowledge that the white people feared him due to his Afro-American height, I expected him to avoid walking at the late night and avoiding lone places as one of his measures.
I can place myself in the position of either the pedestrian or staples. The youths are sometimes seen as a threat by the older persons; this is by the standards of dignity, etiquette, and traditions. For example, there is a time I walked into a jewelry store, and I can recall the way I was carefully watched by the clerk woman as I looked around. On the other hand putting myself on the woman shoes I would understand why he felt unsafe with a black who was wearing a bulky military jacket. Owing to the mentality that the blacks are associated with crimes and thugs, I understand the reason she had to increase her pace. The fact that there was no other person on that street explains why the woman felt uncomfortable.
I feel that Brent Staples was a victim of other peoples misjudgment. His examples of the black race being seen as suspects of wrong doings clearly show that other people were wrongly judging him. For instance, the case in the jewelry store where a lady lets her dog off to him is a clear indication of this. The peoples prejudged mind makes Brent Staples a victim of denial. What happened to Brent in 1986 is no different with today racial segregation is still there. For instance when a youth is late for some reasons unknown to the public, they normally give them crazy looks. The author tries to explain that their color should not judge the blacks. And those people appearances do not determine their character.
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