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Black Men and Public Spaces

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Brent Staples clearly doesn’t like being seen as a threat to people. He seems to know why people feel this way about him, but wishes that they wouldn’t. I think it depresses him to think about it. He calls these run-ins with people “the language of fear.” I think this very accurately describes how the people communicate with staples when they see him. The people who switch sides of the street so they don’t have to pass him, and the woman who got her red Doberman out when he came in to her store are good examples. They show him that they’re scared of him and he shows them that he’s harmless by humming classical piano tunes or giving people that seem nervous plenty of space.

I really liked reading “Black Men and Public Space.” I have always wondered how many of the people that I don’t talk to because they look scary are really nice people. I haven’t been in his situation before because

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