Public Space and Black Men

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Art ・MLA ・1 Sources

When writing a story that tackles concern in the community, a writer would write it best the usage of humor to diffuse the anxiety that will portray in the article. Brent Staples is the ideal author to write this kind of material. He is properly known for his articulate use of humor to describe horrifying or tense situations. Brent’s article, “Black Men and Public Space” (Staples), portrays his imagery method and tackles the theme of unfathomed misconceptions in the city.

The first paragraph of the article filled with the allusion that can easily misdirect the reader. Brent describes a state of affairs where he was on an avenue in Chicago and a woman, whom he describes as his victim, noticed him and entered into a nervous state. This lead to her running away. He intended to show how people in the city react with fear to black even though some of them are innocent, he says, “My first victim was a woman”. “I came upon her late one evening on a deserted street in Hyde Park” (Staples). “As I swung onto the avenue behind her, there seemed to be discreet, an inflammatory distance between us.” (Staples) The use of this allusion misdirects the readers to think that Brent was up to something and was trying to follow the woman. What the woman does misdirects the reader even more. Brent says that “After a few more quick glances, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest.” The writer created a setting and decided to use allusion to pass his message. However, it was not well done in the first paragraph.

In the article, the writer's emotive language to describe the different encounters he has had in his life that demonstrate the fear that people in the city have toward black men. It is visible in paragraph three to five. In section three the writer says, “I grew accustomed but never comfortable with people crossing the other side of the street rather than pass me.” (Staples) It is an emotional state that shows how people are afraid of black men in the city. He further explains how in SoHo, the situation is even worse because the sidewalks are narrow and the building buildings are tightly spaced shutting out the sky. Later in paragraph five, he uses an imaging technique to describe how women also fear him in the city. In these parts of the article, he is passing the message he intends to which is, people fear black men in the town. (Staples)

Use of techniques like imagery humor and setting is essential when a writer wants to address and influence change in some societal traits. Brent Staples has mastered these methods and used them appropriately in this article. The theme tackled by the author in this piece does not only apply to the author and his city alone. It may not just be the black men, but, in every town, there is a group of people marginalized, and people tend to get away from them.

Works Cited

Staples, Brent. "Black Men and Public Space." (n.d.). Print.


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