Professor Michele Hardy
June 24, 2018
Why is Black Men in Public Spaces so intimidating?
In “Black Men and Public Spaces”, Brent Staples is in his early twenties and is faced with the menacing crime of being a black man in the 1970’s. As Staples likes to walk the streets at night due to his insomnia, every stranger that comes close enough to realize that he’s a tall black man lets their fear take control of them as they avoid him to the point of fleeing. To the eyes of people (mainly women) at night, he was no different from any other thug or criminal who prowls the street. Having moved to New York, and growing accustomed to being perceived as a threat, Staples learned to properly give people their space to intimidate them less as he walks the streets.
“It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls that I had first come to know the unwieldy inheritance that I’d come into- the ability to alter public space in ugly ways”. Staples Despite mistaking fear with stereotyping, his skin color does come into play when deciding the factors that would cause one to avoid him or run away, but he does have to realize that the place and time of the event does matter just as much. Most drivers who lock their car doors at the sight of him are more paranoid at the risk of having a stranger attempt to break in and harm them; he did also mention that it didn’t matter whether that person was black and white, man and woman (Staples 369).