The White American society has long linked black men with hyper-sexuality and criminality. The phenomenon infiltrates American history and art. The black man in the American society is associated with “Nat Turner,” who frightened the plantation owners when he bravely led the nineteenth-century slave rebellion or Stanfield Mario, the ice-cold drug seller from HBO’s “The Wire,” to name. However, a few African Americans are believed to have horrible personalities. Unsurprisingly, even the trained and skilled police officers in American society are biased to view black men as threats. The fear of black men does not just emanate from racism. It is psychological. “Black Men and Public Space” by Brent Staples provide an argument that even though the stereotypes may be reasonable because of the patterns created by the black men in the past, they do affect even people who are utterly innocent of such patterns.
Brent Staples is a victim of the stereotype against black men because of the patterns created by such people in the past, even though he is innocent of such patterns. “I often live to see women who fear the worse of me” (419). Staple’s story can be likened to the scene in the movie “Crash,” which illustrates how a stereotype can be destructive. In the movie, a white woman avoids the direction of two young black men approaching her for the fear that they could rob her. “Unsurprisingly,” they robbed her. Society seems to have embedded in the black men how to act, and they automatically do so even if they feel deep down, it is unfair. Staple discusses his experience on how he gets stereotyped due to being a black man and looks intimidated in “public spaces.” The author expounds on how society mistakes innocent African American men as rapists, murderers, and criminals just because of their skin color or physical appearance.
“To her, a youngish black man a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket–seemed menacingly close. After a few more quick glances, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest. Within seconds, she disappeared into a cross street” (419),
Staples narrate an ordeal with a young white woman, an indication of how black men, even the innocent ones, are stereotyped by the whites due to pattern created in the past.
Staples, B. (1986). Black men and public space.