“Threatening” Black Men

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

I think the Brent Staples essay points us in the right direction to consider an important point of view, but his essay doesn’t really address the idea that black men are considered threatening even in a number of non-threatening situations. My critique of this essay is that he focuses on the experience of walking down the street at night, which as many of us have noted can be a “scary” situation no matter who is walking behind us on the street or in dark parking lot. But what happens when black men are encountered in non-“scary” places such as your office elevator, your suburban street, the bank? What about the Oval Office?

A recent news event highlights how the irrational fear of black men in America permeates our culture. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is a white woman. President of the United States Barack Obama is a black man. Watch this clip and see how even in the most esteemed position in our nation, black men can be stereotyped as “threatening.”

Prof. David

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