For over a thousand years, Race has and still is a topic that is associated with different emotions, views and thoughts. From the beginning of time, African Americans have always been judged and harassed just because of the color of their skin or where they came from. Brent Staples himself went through the hardship of being judged because of his race, but with him being a writer he was able to fight against the stereotyping with his article “Black Men and Public Space” which he utilizes rhetorical uses that use appeals of his descriptions of experiences as a black man in public spaces. In the article, Staples uses many excellent examples of racism and how it has made progress throughout the years, but is still present today. In his essay, Brent discusses how the black men during that time were seen as monsters and discriminated just for walking at night even when they were highly qualified with job and managed to achieve their goals. He uses many examples of how the White people would profile the him and other African Americans as well as law enforcement to the White female who ran off after seeing Staples during the nighttime. All this reveals that the White American population are empty headed but also how they judged the African Americans just because of the color of their skin and where they came from.
Brent Staples was born on September 13th 1951, in Chester, Pennsylvania. While growing up he came from a poor family but managed to work through this and became a Psychologist, Journalist and an author. He taught various Psychology classes in Chicago and then moved to New York after receiving a position at the New York Time as an editor. As a black man himself, Staples had witnessed several incidents of racial discrimincation and stereotyping which led him to write “Black People in Public Spaces”. He uses many examples to show how racism is still alive till this day despite the progress that has been made over the years. The goal Staples was trying to get across with this article is to expose the discriminstion so that the public can stop this from continuing in society. He uses many rhetorical devices to get his point across. For example, in the article he was sympathizing with his victims and their feelings, which appeals to ethos. He also provides historical background about his life and metaphors to appeal to logos. Staples is able to draw the emotions of his readers with his word choice and imagery to describe the accounts he went through.
Throughout the article, Staples does a good job of stirring the emotions of the audience by using pathos. He talks about how one night he was on a late night walk and ended up behind a white woman who had noticed him and began sprinting because she thought he was a mugger, rapist or something more sinister. For instance, he says “It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls, that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I had come into, the ability to alter public space in ugly ways”(Staples 143). This shows how Staples began to pull the emotions of the reader because he wants to show that all this is happening just because the color of his skin. He also makes the reader feel guilty to gain an emotional reaction “I grew accustomed to but never comfortable”(Staples 144). This statement is huge and important because it makes the reader feel the guilt and makes them feel like their in some sort of way in the same situation. This achieves Staples goals of making the audience see how bad the racism and discrimination was.
However, Staples uses the narratives and evidence to back up the stories he explained because he didn’t want to directly place all of the blame on the white women . With this, personally as a reader it gave reassurance and helped gain trust in Staples because it shows how he deeply feels about the situation. With this he also gives information about his childhood and how he was surrounded by gang warfare, knife fights and murders “against the backdrop of gang and warfare and street murders”(Staples 144). With having such a tough background and having to grow up in fear, Staples managed to graduate from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in Psychology. This shows that he wanted his readers to see that he was inspired to do great things and be a successful man even tho having a difficult childhood. In this case, Staples last appeal he used was ethos when he backs up his stories and experiences by incorporating other experiences of other individuals who had similar encounters to Staples. This shows the credibility that Brent Staples provided within the experiences he had gone through with the audience because this is a common phenomenon that occurs.
Throughout this article Staples was able to get the message across that being racially discriminated by random people is something that nobody should go through. He uses ethos, logos and pathos to provide the audience with a look into the life of a black man. Using these techniques, Staples is able to get the emotions out of the readers and get responses as well as trying to put the readers in his shoes. With using all of the techniques he was able to accomplish his goal of making the audience see how bad racial stereotyping and disxrimination and how it is still here till this day.