write two responces to these fellow classmates on their post in a positive manner and why you agree.


The Essay I chose to write a response to is “Black Men and Public Spaces” question #3. Some of the dangers that Staples has encountered because of his race was being mistaken for a burglar while working as a journalist in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Staples recounts this as being his most fearsome encounter. He handled this dangerous situation by escaping to the closest person who could identify him as a journalist. Another time he states he “was killing time before an interview” (Staples, p. 224, 2016) and decided to go into an affluent jewelry store and the proprietor felt so threatened she went and got her attack dog. Staples said he “took a cursory look around, nodded, and bade her good night” (Staples, p. 224, 2016). He states that even with those frightful encounters it could have been worse as it was for another journalist that was hauled from his car at gunpoint by the police and was saved by his press credentials.

As a similarly large black man like Staples, I stand six feet two inches tall at two hundred and fifty pounds easy, I have often had such encounters and I can honestly say the only thing that saves me from the fearful terror filled looks is the fact that I live in a state where football and UFC are revered and I am often mistaken for a football player or Kimbo Slice. As offensive as these stereotypes are I guess I should be grateful that it has kept me from enduring what could have turned out as horrible encounters.


For week 5 discussion, I picked Brent Staples’s piece Black Men and Public Space and decided to answer to question number 2, which asks “How did Staples first learn that he was considered a threat by many people? How did this discovery make him feel?”

Staples first learn that he is considered a threat by many people at the age of twenty-two, when he is newly arrived in Chicago. During one of his night walks, Staples finds himself walking behind a “woman–white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties” (Staples, p.222). Although he thinks there is a decent distance between himself and the woman, Staples soon notices that the lady starts to pick up her pace right after she turned around and gave him a worried glance. Obviously just the sight of him was enough to intimidate the woman, because her fast walking turned quickly into running.

The fact that someone is running away from him just because of his appearance leaves Staples surprised, not in a good way, and appalled, because he knows he is not capable of hurting another person. But because street violence is a reality and women are particularly vulnerable to it, Staples understands the woman’s reaction.

Unfortunately this is just the first episode of a series where Staples is mistaken for a criminal, but instead of keeping an angry attitude toward the issue, he decides to start “taking precautions to make himself less threatening” (Staples, p.224).

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