Staples and Racist Theme

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					In “A Black Man Ponders His Ability to Alter Public Space” written by Brent Staples, the major themes include racism and stereotypes. Staples exposes to the reader his experiences as a victim of racism and typical categorizing of a black male’s expected behavior such as being violent, dangerous and criminal. The author begins his work by stating; “My first victim was a woman---white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties.” Staples uses this technique not only to get the reader’s attention but in a humorous, sarcastic manner as well. His supposed victim, according to society at the time, was a young, white; financially well off woman; which is ironic because in reality, the victim was him. Staples came to realize that unwittingly, his surroundings could lead into chaos just because he is a black male. This is seen in the passage; “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 refers to “unwieldy

inheritance” as an inevitable destiny of being judged due to skin color. Society, especially the media has a huge role in what individuals perceive. As humans, we are all culprits of stereotyping at one point or another in our lives, who ever denies this is obviously a great fibber.

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