Stereotyping is common in today’s society. Stereotypes typically appeal to sex and race, but generally, almost anything can be transitioned into a stereotype. Mr. Brent Staples, author of the essay “Black Men and Public Space”, is targeted by judgment because of his race. This essay sheds light on the mistreatment towards an ordinary African American male. Ultimately, Staples is the victim of stereotype.
Appearance and physique play a role in stereotyping. The way an individual looks and presents them selves determines the judgment of them by others. Staples, an African-American male who stands approximately 74 inches in height, can be mistaken for a criminal simply by his physical appearance. Staples is caught in a dilemma where he happens to notice a Caucasian female in her early twenties displaying signs of worry as he casually walks the streets of Hyde Park. In the essay by Brent Staples, he says, “After a few more quick glimpses, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest” (Staples 294). What Staples is explaining in this observation is that this woman is afraid. This young woman witnessed Staples physical appearance and quickly made a judgment in which she assumed the worse. This judgment puts Staples in a situation where he is no longer innocent. Staples experiences what it is like to be deemed a threat, but in reality he is victimized by a stereotype. Subliminal stereotyping is miserably carried on throughout generations. Stereotypes get thrown around within society even to this day. Generation after generation is being exposed to these harmful statements that promote negativity. Staples says “It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I’d come into – the ability to alter public space in ugly ways” (Staples 294). Staples makes known that somehow he has innocently become a threat to the public. He implies that he is forcefully a victim of stereotyping simply because of his...
Cited: Staples, Brent. “Black Men and Public Space”. The Seagull Reader Essays. 2nd Edition.
Kelly, Joseph. London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008. 294 – 297. Print.
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