Summary Of Just Walk On By A Black Man Ponders His Power To Alter Public Space

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In his essay, “Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space”, Brent Staples uses the rhetorical strategies of anecdote and diction in order to convey his message that due to racial discrimination black people (mainly men) have to change the way they naturally conduct themselves in public for they run the risk of something terrible happening to them. Staples uses anecdotes to bring in the personal side of the message to the audience. Staples creates a persona of innocence and almost alienation in his writing. Anecdotes such as his both instances in which he accidently scared women on walks and the time in which he and another reporter were mistaken for murder suspects or robbers are used to show real life proof of his message. That it is reality and not just a concept based off of racism. Within these anecdotes Staples uses hyperbole to create suspense and kind of overstate the real issue at hand in order to show how terrible his position truly is. Such as in the opening sentence, “My first victim was a woman - white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties…(542)”. The woman is not an actual “victim” to any physical harm. Nothing happened to her except she feared for possibly her life. This little piece of hyperbole increases the ironic take on how people will actually run away from him as if they are going to become real victims to harm. It highlights that piece of which everyone 's’ fear is based solely on superstition; where nothing will
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