Analysis Of 'Just Walk On By: Black Men And Public Space'

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Racism falls hand in hand with stereotyping. In “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space”, Brent Staples shares his own experiences of dealing with racism and stereotypes as a black man. Many years before he started writing, black men were being as a threat. His first incident involved a woman who saw him walking a distance behind her. She noticeably started to walk faster, and then ran off. Brent expressed his awe and embarrassment of the situation. He did not quite understand at first. He saw himself as a genuine individual who was in graduate school, while the outside world saw him as a thug, rapist or murderer. People made assumptions about him due to the color of his skin. Staple’s story helps bring enlightening insight into the issue of racism by giving real firsthand experiences, and shedding light into the two contrasting ideas of who he was as an individual versus what others perceived him to be. Growing up in a small Pennsylvania neighborhood, Staple’s was unique because he stayed out of trouble. Many boys his age were being killed or thrown into jail. Later on in his life he attended college in Chicago and wrote “in that first year, my…show more content…
I have heard countless information on racism, but it is always appalling to read it from a first person experience since I have not dealt with it on a personal level before. By providing his own personal stories, it allows the reader to be brought into his world. He leaves details that allowed me to picture him walking down a busy street with an uneasy feeling. He shares “over the years, I learned to smother the rage I felt at so often being taken for a criminal” (397) which illustrates the emotion behind racism. It must have taken a tremendous amount of will to not give into his rage. It truly paints a picture into racism, whether it be on a large or small
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