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  1. Phuong-My N.

    Phuong-My N.
    Keeble
    AP English, Per. 2
    15 October 2012

    For Discussion and Writing

    1. Staples describes himself as “…youngish black man—a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair…” (P. 362) He is sometimes seen by others as “…a mugger, a rapist, or worse.” (P. 362)
    2. The complication and paradox of these situation is expressed by Staples saying that by him whistling classical music in the streets at night, people would not think of him as a mugger. He also states that, “Virtually everybody seems to sense that a mugger wouldn’t be warbling bright, sunny selections from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.” (P. 365). He compares his whistling to the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country to show that he is not dangerous.
    4. I identify myself with his first victim, a woman who was cautious about who was walking behind her. It affected my reading of the full piece because usually when people are walking behind me and they look suspicious, I would be scared and walk faster. But reading from Staples’ perspective really opened my eyes because I honestly believed that every suspicious-looking person was dangerous. He helped me understand that I should not make assumptions like that because not everyone is the same and not everyone is out to hurt you.

  2. Maliko Pearson-Chock

    Maliko P.
    10/14/12
    Period: 02
    1) Staples describes himself as a public offender, well at least in the beginning of his essay. Later on in his essay he uses the word “softy” to characterize himself. Others seen him as a crook because of the color of his skin and gender.

    2) Staple’s compares his whistling classical music as an equivalent of “the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear county” (par. 12). Staples whistles classical music to show that he is an intelligent human being, and also to not scare people away who are intimidated by his skin complexion.

    4)In the beginning of the essay, The person I related to most was Staples, because through out my life assumptions have been made about me. In the beginning the assumptions use to bring me down because alot of them were being made were not true. But as i’ve gotten older i’ve realized that people will always have an opinion of you regaurdless of knowing you or not.

  3. David Martinez

    David D.

    1) Staples describes himself as a dangerous and suspicious looking man, but in reality he is a “Softy.” He says that he is a man who wouldn’t harm a soul. People often view him a rapist or a robber and sometimes a murderer.
    2)I suppose what he meant that his whistling is a way to ward off any means of harm. It is a signal, much like a cowbell, to ward off any suspicion of threat. I suppose you could say that he is a hiker in this territory and must show the bears he is no threat by wearing a cowbell, in this case whistling.
    4) I identified myself as the young woman who got scared when she saw a creepy man walking behind her. I suppose it made me rethink how I want to react to people in these situations. Reading this made me interpret it as a way to better understanding these people.

  4. Bilguun B.

    Bilguun Batdorj

    Ms. Keeble

    AP English 11

    14 October 2012

    1. The author, Brent Staples, refers to himself as an gentle giant who is often misunderstood as a person up to no good. He tells the audience about his experiences of being stereotyped as a bad person and how he tried to counter-act it.

    2. Bears are usually not hostile until they feel they’re threatened. Mother bears will usually attack animals that they believe are a risk to their cubs. Thus a hiker should make a lot of sounds to deter the mother bear. By doing this the hiker makes the bear feel at ease. Staples whistles at night so the people near him can feel at ease and understand that Staples is not hostile.

    4. I connect both to Staples and to the first victim that encountered him. I have experienced a couple of cases in which people made assumptions about me. Also when I was young I would get scared from Harley riders and I would avoid them.

  5. Haley Rosano

    Haley R.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11 Per. 2
    13 October 2012

    1. Staples first describes himself as some sort of offender; to women in particular. This automatically makes some people perceive him as a sex offender. Later in the essay, he reveals himself as a victim of pure stereotype that he has accepted as a life form. When people read this story, and think of it in a critical way, they see not only what Staples actually is, (which is a victim of ignorance and laziness) but also what society is.
    2. Staples is all about seeking approval. He has to let people know that he is the good guy, and that he means no harm. Everywhere that he goes he has to watch the movements that he makes and the way that he makes those moves because they could be perceived in an off way. The quote “equivalent of the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country” (par. 12) is exactly how Staples feels. He feels like he has a cowbell on in front of a bunch of hungry bears waiting to stereotype and criticize him
    4. To be completely honest, I found myself identifying with the stereotypical woman who thought Staples was going to hurt her. There are times when I feel like I am going to be harmed simply because of someones looks, therefore I pass judgement too soon on people. There are times when I don’t take time to get to know people, and I automatically think I know what that person is about. Is that right of me? No. Am I trying to change my ways? yes. This affected my reading because it gave me a reality check. It put a mirror to my face and said this is how you may be making someone feel.

  6. Amacalli Duran

    Amacalli D.
    AP English
    Ms. Keeble
    14 October 2012

    1. Staples refers to himself as a “softy”, meaning he is incapable of harming anyone. Later, he describes himself as an individual burdened by prejudice views and stereotypes. Others view Staples as a mugger and rapist.
    2. In his last sentence, Staples compares his whistling of classical music to hikers wearing cowbells in bear territory. The reason hikers wear cowbells is to notify and alarm bears of their presence and to inform the bear that they are not being made prey by another animal. Doing this, hikers calm the atmosphere between themselves and the bear. When Staples hums classical tunes he is warning others of his presence and demonstrating that he has no intention of harming them. Like the hikers, Staples is attempting to make a calm and nonchalant atmosphere.
    4. I identified myself with the woman in the beginning with a bias perspective, which she used to assume that Staples had the intentions of harming her. As the story progressed I was able to place myself in the shoes of those who discriminated against Staples, because I have done so before to African-American males. I was also able to relate to Staples because I have discriminated against. My experiences affected my reading because it forced me to think of all the ignorant and irrational assumptions I have made against another due to their appearance.

  7. Yarelli Lopez

    Yarelli Lopez
    Ms. Keeble
    Ap English Language & Literature
    14 October 2012

    1) Staples at first seems to descrive himself as a bad person perhaps someone that has committed crimes. At least that’s what i first thought when he said,”my first victim”. He made it seem as if perhaps he was going to do something awful to the woman. But then later in the essay you find out that he is just an ordinary black male trying to live life without the pain of stereotypes.

    2) Staples seems to think that if he tries real hard to fit in, perhaps later he will not be judged or affected by stereotypes and he will just be like anyone else. Like when he is mumbling a song of classical music to show that he means no harm to anyone and that he is a nice, friendly, and peaceful man.

    4) I believe i identified with the woman that Staples mentioned as his first “victim” because in general if i’m walking alone in the dark and see someone near me i would try to avoid them. Since i don’t know them and have no idea of what their intentions might be then i would try to be as far away from them as possible. Like my mother always says a young lady should never be alone since there are more chances that they could get easily hurt. So i’d rather run from anything or anyone that could possibly harm me even if they are probably as scared as i am.

  8. Diana Larios

    Diana Larios
    AP English 11
    Period 1
    Keeble
    14 October 2012

    1.) Staples describes himself as a “softy” in his essay, “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Places”, stating that he is the total opposite of what all his “victims” fear him of being. He is not a criminal, rapist, and cannot see himself ever harming anyone.
    2.) Staples describes how he wants to diminish any attention towards him when he walks the streets at night. He uses stereotypes to his advantage, stating that the people around him would not perceive him as a threat if he hums classical music, which he does, because he knows that people would not expect muggers or rapist to even be knowledgeable of its existence much less be able to hum it.
    4.) I identify myself with the woman at the beginning, because personally I become uncomfortable when people around me act suspicious to the point where I can feel threat to my person even if it is not their intention. You would never see me purposely walking the streets at night but I am the type of person to run away if ever felt threatened.

  9. Areli S.

    Areli Sanchez
    Ms.Keeble
    Period2 AP English
    October 2012

    1. Initially Staples describes himself as some perpetrator who victimizes people, but the reader is able to depict that he actually is a kind, innocent and discrete man. He is seen by others as evil, up to no good and dangerous. The reader can sense such vision of others by the way Stables describes the situation he comes across in his life.

    2. His comparison serves to tell the reader that his actions like those of the hiker are too show he means no harm and is there peacefully. Being who he is and in that environment alike the hiker they face danger so the whistling and cowbell are what keeps them seen as non threatening.

    4. Honestly I identified myself with the woman, primarily because I am of women gender and because I am a very paranoid person when it comes to walking alone. I myself saw me in her and I feared for what was anticipating to happen. I wasn’t exactly afraid because of Staples race but for him just being a man. Men honestly do scare me because I do know women have been attacked by men out of nowhere.

  10. Oscar G

    Oscar G
    Period 1
    1. Staples describes himself as being just like any other man in society. But others see him as a danger and a person to stay away from for their ‘safety’. More specifically label him automatically as a rapist, thief and as if he was guilty of some crime.
    2.Staples tries to make other people feel more comfortable around him so that suddenly he does not become the target. He begins whistling Bethoven, which is classical music that no ‘thug’ would ever bother to listen to. As it is for only for people who are more sophisticated than average society.
    4. At the beginning of the story I identified my self as the woman running away from Staples. I did so because of bad experiences that I have had in the past with African American people. This affected my reading throughout the entire reading because it seems like something I would do. But as of now I will wait until it seems that I ‘have’ to run away from a colored man.

  11. Alicia

    Alicia O.
    Period 1
    AP English
    11 October 2012

    1. Staples describes himself as a young black man who is six feet and two inches with a beard. Also, as someone who seems scary and wil do something bad to you. He is sometimes seen by others as an evil guy who will kill somebody. Overall, he is seen by others as someone who is dangerous to be around.
    2. The complication and paradox of these situations are expressed by the last sentence about Staple’s whistling classical music being the ” equivalent of the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country” by showing that even though he causes a lot of fear to other people, he also feels sad by the way he is being looked at. The complication is expressed in the last sentence by showing that at times he even has to act like a person he is not to let the people know that he is not someone who will cause danger. In other words he has to try to fit in when he knows that he is making people feel fear so in order to do so he has to do what people from that place find that a calm guy will do.
    4. I identified myself with the woman who was running away from Staples at the beginning of Staple’s essay. Just like her when I see that somebody is walking behind me when its night time I start to walk fast because I feel he would do something to me. This affected my reading of the full piece by helping me see that when I do this it causes the person to feel bad especially when maybe he was not going to do anything to me. It made me understand the point of view of Staples more easily and get to see that I make assumptions about people when they are not true. Not only that but it made me feel sad and ashamed of myslef as I read the essay because reading how Staples feels made me think that it is not right for me to be making assumptions about anybody. I have to give them the chance to show me how they are.

  12. Andrea O

    Andrea O
    AP English 11 , Per.2
    12 October 2012
    1. Staples describes himself as “a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken-let alone hold one to a person’s throat..” (50 Essays P.363) . He is sometimes seen by others as a threat and a potential danger.
    2.In his last sentence, Staples states that he sings melodies when he is walking around to make people who might think of him as a threat feel more at ease. This is the equivalent of how hikers wear cowbells in bear country because they are both meant to signal that the person is not trying to cause any harm.
    4. When I first began to read the story and I read the line “My first victim was a woman…” (50 Essays P. 362) , I immediately thought that he was a bad person and because I am a girl I felt that he had harmed one of my own. This affected my reading of the whole piece because when I first began I had already formed my opinion on the author and saw him as a bad person. However, at the end of the piece I found that he was the victim and not that women to whom he first referred to.

  13. Abraham N.

    Abraham N.
    AP English 11
    Ms. Keeble
    Period 5
    14 October 2012

    1) Staples describes himself as a bad guy and a villain. But in reality, he is actually the victim. I think he is seen by others as a thug and a bad person because of his skin and appearance.

    2) In the last sentence of the essay, I think he said that if they hear him whistling a song they wouldn’t expect him to whistle, they would believe that he isn’t as harmful as other people his skin color.

    4) At the beginning of the story, I identified with the woman who was being very cautious with the man. I thought I was going to be on her side for the whole story but when I started to read the story more, my opinion changed in an instant.

  14. Rachel N.

    Rachel N.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English Language & Composition
    15 October 2012

    1) Staples sees himself as a possible threat to people’s daily lives, someone who should be regarded with apprehensiveness, and not worth people’s time. As a black human male, he feels like he is walking on eggshells everywhere he goes. Outsiders can view him as someone who will physically bring harm to others, and as someone who is distorted mentally.

    2) The complication and paradox of these situations are expressed in Staples’ last sentence when he expresses that him whistling classical tunes while around certain folks at night is the same as how hikers wear a cowbell when in bear country. Staples feels like he has to sing classical music to protect himself against discrimination and hurtful actions from other people. He feels so vulnerable that he compares it to having to protect himself like a hiker from a vicious bear.

    4) I identified with the woman in the beginning of the story because I can relate to feeling scared of black men as they walk by me when I am on the subway. It affected my reading of the whole piece because I was able to see how my actions can cause others to feel trapped and discriminated against, causing them to have to change their lives to feel secure.

  15. Canyon R

    Canyon Riley
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11, Period 2
    14 October 2012

    1). At first, Staples describes himself as a criminal, but further into the essay he is revealed to be a humble person. Others perceive Staples as a felon. The woman in the beginning of the essay ran away from him because she thought he would steal from her or assault her. An office manager mistook Staples for being a burglar when Staples had to rush to the office.

    2). Hikers are told to wear cowbells to alert the bears of their presence. That way, the bears are not startled. When startled, the bear may think the hiker wants to kill it. In defense, the bear will maul the hiker. Staples uses the tactic of whistling classical music to show everyone that he means no harm. No one would suspect a criminal to have prior knowledge of such music.

    4). In the beginning of the essay, I identified Staples as a felon who was willing to share what he did wrong in hopes that the reader would not follow in his footsteps. But as I read further into the essay, I felt guilty for making this assumption. It was he who was the victim, not the woman.

  16. Kiloni D.

    Kiloni Driskell
    14 October 2012
    AP English Period 2
    Ms.Keeble

    1) Staples describe himself as, “a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw….” He also describes himself as a educated man. Staples have been stereotyped and looked at like a rapist and a mugger. Staples is really the victom.

    2) Staples whistle melodies from Beethoven and Vivaldi so the people in his surrounding know that he means no harm. He wants them to know that he is just an ordinary guy just like the rest of them. Stable knows if he whistles these melodies then the people in his surroundings will feel safe because they would think robbers, muggers and rapist do not whistle tunes like these.

    4) I identify myself with the woman in the park because I am very paranoid and cautious. Anything can happen to you. Everytime I turn on the new you hear stories on little girls getting kidapped, raped, killed, shot and so much more. I am out in the dark most of the time and I walk home by myself. If I was to see somebody walking behind me I would to be quick to cross the street. It is not because of the race it’s because I am very cautious of my surroundings.

  17. Maliko Pearson-Chock

    Maliko P.
    10/14/12
    Period: 02
    1) Staples describes himself as a public offender, Well at least in the beginning, late on in his essay he uses the word “softy” to characterize himself. He is sometimes seen by other as a crook because of the color of his skin.

    2) When Staple’s compares his whistling classical music as an equivalent of “the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear county” (par. 12), because he does it to make people who are around him not believe the typical sterotypes about people who are of Staple’s race and skin complexion. Also because it could be a way to soothe him, I say that because Staples knows that even if he does absolutely nothing wrong he will still be judged by close minded people.

    4)In the beginning of the essay, I identified the women as someone who was quick to judge. As a reader I can relate to that because I’m also a very protective person over my belonging and can be judgemental at times, but at the same time I wouldn’t say that this women if was right at all and I myself would not have handled the situation the way she did.

  18. Mercedes G.

    Mercedes G.
    AP English
    10-14-12
    Ms. Keeble
    1.He described himself as a nice person and how he would not kill or hurt anyone. He also describes himself as “Softy” which means he is not a tough guy and he sure will not act like a tough guy either. Others described him as a criminal such as a mugger just for walking around late at night, and just for driving at a crime scene he was accused of being a murderer.
    2. I think by him whistling that tune he was just showing everyone that he is a nice guy and not just some random dude walking the streets. I also think that he whistled this song because it is a happy song and by whistling this song it sort of shows that he is a happy guy which also shows that he is not harmful.
    4. In the beginning of Staples essay was that he was a rapist and a murder because the way he started it “My first victim was a woman” made my mind think that he was a criminal. The reason that I thought that he was a criminal was because he was describing himself as a criminal which made me think that he was a criminal. In the first paragraph where he was walking in the dark and the woman being the front of him I thought he was going to kill her and describe how he killed her and so on.

  19. David D.

    David D.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English
    Period 2
    12 October 2012
    1. Staples describes himself as a very dangerous man who in reality isn’t at all. He is just a regular guy living in New York who was judged by the way he looks and acts through a stereotype.
    2. Staples sees that he is being judged by a stereotype that he has never heard or seen of before. This surprises him, but after all he has been through he learns that he has to deal with them. He can’t do anything about the stereotype; so he whistles to classical music in order to calm the person down.
    4. At the beginning I identify myself with the man who was being judged, for I to have been judged in the same way. Since I have a Latino background when people see me they sometimes assume I’m a criminal, and thief. The reason why was because of the stereotypes there were against Latinos. I don’t blame the people who look at me or judge me like that though; if I were in there position I would probably would have done the same.

  20. Jonathan V

    Jonathan V
    Ms. Keeble
    Ap Eng and Comp
    1st period

    1. Staples described himself as a man that is sacred off because he is from a different race, and because of the area he lived in. He is seen as a man that is out walking in the middle of the night to do bad things, such as sealing money or any valuables or to kill.

    2. Bear country is the country or the place that hey are living in. The hunters are the cvilians that do not know how to actually deal with a situation in case of a one on one. The bears in this situation are the outsiders or the colored folks that are not the ones sacred of anything, but as soon as they feel threatened they attack ferociously.

    3. Well I identified myself with the woman that saw Staple with the big coat and then just sped up. I identified with her because I had something happen to me, and since that day on I decided to not make any more close encounters with the African American people. After sometime i lost that fear an then I returned to my regular state of mind.

  21. Ryan C.

    Ryan C.
    Ms. Keeble
    Ap English
    Period 1

    1) Staples describes himself as a nice guy hat is in college. However, he is seen as someone that would harm other people/

    2) Staples and the connection of the hikers with bell is referring to how cautious you have to be in the territory he is in. Meaning that the whistling is is cautioning. So both is a way to be cautious of the surroundings.

    4) I dentified him as someone scary and dangerous. This affected me on how difficult it was coming out with a conclusion of his personality and well being.

  22. Desiree N.

    Desiree N.

    Ms. Keeble

    AP English 11

    14 October 2012

    1. Staples describes himself as a black man who is six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair. He is a college student deprieved of sleep. To others, Staples is viewed as a menacing black man guilty of crimes.

    2. Staples wants to make people feel safe and comfortable around him. People find it unlikely that bad guys listen to calssical music, that is why Staples does this.He is not a bad guy and he doesn’t want people to think he is. Staples knows that whistling classical music will ease people’s tension.

    4. I identified myself as the women in the beginning of the story. I am paranoid sometimes and get scared of certain people. It is not their race, it is how they present themselves. When it is dark and a man is wearing dark clothing and is very large, I get scared. I want to get away from that person. This only affected my reading for the first page, I assumed Staples was a person who did bad things. I soon realized it was Staples who was becoming the victim.

  23. Jashleen Singh

    Jashleen Singh
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11 Per 2

    1. Staples describes himself as “a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken…” He does not mean any harm whatsoever to the people around him. However, he is sometimes perceived as a villain in the eyes of others, due to the color of his skin.

    2. Throughout his life, Staples describes many moments in which he was looked upon as a villain due to presumptions from the color of his skin. However, the last sentence about Staples whistling classical music leads to complication and paradox of the previous sentences because he is assuming by whistling these classical tunes; he will make people around him more comfortable. He does not know this for a fact that it will, and neither did the people assuming he was a villain know he was a bad guy for sure, but they were simply presumptions. Staples contradicts himself by doing to others, what hey do to him.

    4. I feel that I can identify myself with Staples the most. There are so many misunderstandings of what kind of a person I am due to others’ judgements. Being able to relate to Staples made reading the full piece much more intriguing than it would have been, because I was able to know what it’s like walking in his shoes and seeing things in his perspective.

    • tashak38

      Wonderfully thoughtful.

  24. Hannah R.

    Hannah Reddy
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11, Period 2
    14 October 2012

    1. In the beginning Staples portrays himself as the perpetrator; however, during the situations he reveals that in reality he is the victim, even though everyone else views him as the “perpetrator.”

    2. The significance of “wearing a cowbell in bear country” is to let predators (or bears) know that you are coming so they will not be surprised by your presence and attack. This is equivalent to Staples’s whistling because it let others (those who viewed him as a “predator”) that he was friendly. When you see or hear someone who listens to classical music, you usually imply that that person is well-educated and well off in life; you don’t expect it to be a homeless man or someone who seems equivalent to that. So when Staples whistled the tunes, it gave everyone else peace of mind knowing that he would not harm them, and in a way I feel that it gave him peace of mind knowing that people won’t act or behave the way they normally do around him.

    4. In the beginning of the essay I related myself with the lady. If I were in her position, I probably would have done the exact same thing. However, the essay made me realize how my judgments of other may affect them.

    • Excellent thinking and composition.

  25. maria fajardo

    Maria F
    Period 2

    1 Stapels describes himself as a “softy” because he says he is a kind person but people make him seem as a criminal because of assumpions they make based on his race/apperance.

    2 since people see him as a criminal because of his color he calls them the victims even though really he is the victiim, he whistles classical music to give the people comfort and to be less scared.

    4 i relate to the lady in the beginning of the essay because if i was walking at night and saw someone behind me i would try and avoid them by speeding up my pace in walking, i wouldnt want to risk them being someone bad. staples showed us that no one should assum things without knowing for sure.

  26. Efrain E

    Efrain E.
    AP English 11
    Period 1

    1) Staples identifies himself as a “softy” who would never think of harming another human being. He thinks of himself as the complete opposite of what other people see him as. He isn’t a rapist, a criminal, or a threat like some of the people he encounters might think.

    2) Staples writes about how he wants to avoid drawing too much attention to himself when he is walking down the street. He also explains that he uses whistling as a means to draw suspicion away from himself. This seems odd because in theory, whistling should make someone seem more suspicious than quietly walking down the street. He compares it to hikers wearing cowbells because In both instances whistling and wearing a cowbell do not seem like a practical way to respond to the circumstances.

    4) I identified myself with both Staples and the woman in the beginning. At times I may feel alienated because of the assumptions that others make about me based on my appearance. On the other hand I feel uncomfortable when others are doing things that I think are suspicious or abnormal. I was able to understand the struggles that Staples was facing throughout his writing.

  27. Aaron C

    Aaron Chon
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11
    12 October 2012

    1. Staples begins by portraying himself as a dangerous person in order to force the reader to make an assumption, which he then disproves by showing himself as a peaceable and honest person, which causes the reader to look back on their past assumption and analyze the situation that he will present without their view of stereotypes. The assumptions that are made by others specifically make him seem like a mugger and a rapist, which is due to his age, race, and gender, which are middle-aged, black, and male.

    2. Staples describes himself in comparison to hikers in order to describe a sense of caution that is shown because of where he is. He uses stereotypes to his advantage in order to make people perceive him as a more sophisticated and kind person, since people believe that muggers and rapists are not going to listen to musical pieces such as Beethoven and Vivaldi. In this way, the paradox is complete because people won’t perceive him as hostile, and they will not act hostile towards him as a result.

    4. At the beginning of the essay, I felt that the character that I more strongly related to was Staples because people will make a number of assumptions about me. The fact that people make such assumptions tells me that they lack the willingness to learn about a person, or do not know how to, which made me feel more open and receptive towards the author’s message.

  28. Rachael B.

    Rachael B.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11, Period 2
    13 October 2012

    1. Staples described himself as being a criminal. People would take one look at him and assume he was going to commit a crime. In other words, he was a stereotyped person.

    2. Staples tried to adapt to the environment by whistling. Since he was stereotyped, he wanted to change people’s views if he did something out of the ordinary. The controversy with the quote was meant to show that even if he does whistle, there’s not a big effect that changes people’s views. He tries to fit it, but he still just doesn’t.

    4. At first, I thought Staples was some sort of criminal because he mentioned having a “victim”. At the end, I felt that he was just a regular person who get stereotyped like everyone else.

  29. Joelynn D.

    Joelynn D.

    Ms. Keeble – 2nd period

    AP English

    13 October 2012

    Just walk On By: Response

    1) Staples describes himself as a “softy” who cannot stand violence and is a college graduate. In the past he rarely got in to fights and even now he does not harm anyone. But to others, they believe that he is a stereotypical black male who is to be feared during the night.

    2) Like how hikers use cowbells in bear country to make their presence known and to show they do not want trouble, Staples whistles to put others at ease and to show that he does not mean any harm. After he realized that people shy away from him or fear him, he became conscious not to give others the wrong impression.

    4) In the beginning I identified with the woman because I am also a female, and during the night I tend to be more cautious then during the day. For me, I do not really discriminate against race or gender, but in general take more precautions during the night. But by the end of the story, I realized that I do not really identify with either the woman or Staples because I do not avoid people on the street because of race or gender or ever get avoided because of my race or gender.

  30. Veronica

    Veronica V.
    Oct. 13, 2012
    Ms. Keeble
    1st period

    1.) Staples describes himself as a normal, young and well educated male, but is seen as a suspicious mugger/ rapist due to his appearance.

    2.) Due to Staples’ skin color, he has to endure many stereotypes and would not be treated the same. Many people would assume that he is a mugger and cruel person by what others have said about his race and would think he is the same when he really isn’t. Just like hikers wear cowbells to ward off bears, Staples whistles classical music to let others know he isn’t harmful.

    4.) I identified myself with “the first victim” since the young woman started to walk faster after she saw Staples because it reminded me of a time when I was walking home late and I saw someone walking behind me. I got a little scared, so I sped up trying not to look back and trying not to think about what can happen. This didn’t affect my reading because I didn’t think Staples was at all harmful and with my incident, I wasn’t scared of the person walking behind me of his race, but at the fact it was dark and it was a man. I was scared something would happen to me since it was a man behind me and I was walking home alone in the dark.

  31. valeria

    Valeria
    5th period
    Ms. Keeble

    1. At first, Staples describes himself as a man that is completly normal just like any other man. He descbribes his actions, like the way he walks and what he is doing throuhout the moment. But he is seen as another black man that only causes truoble. Other people assume he is a bad person because of the color of his skin and wrong actions he has expressed for them.
    2. Stapels uses other stereo tyepes as an example of how people describe him. He falls in the category in which he is considered as a bad person. In reality, he is a regular man trying to get pass what other people think about him.
    4. The way Stapels started off his essay made me think he was a bad person right awaybut in reality he is not. He made me want to read more and find out what his story was because I though his story was going to describe a crime that he did. But then I realize that he was the true victim in this story because he was attacked as someone he is not.

  32. Destiny Bets

    Destiny B
    Oct 13, 2012
    period 5
    Ap English

    1) I agree with Caitlin when she stated, “a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken…” Staples is just a regular guy living in New York. Some strangers think of him as a mugger or a rapist. He was being perceived as dangerous in other people’s perspective. I believe that Staples is just an ordinary guy he shouldn’t have to walk on Earth trying to please everyone that is scared of him just because of his ethnicity! it’s clearly wrong. (i was mad when i read this part of the text)

    2) Staples compares his whistling to cowbells that hikers use. He whistles to try and make “his victims” more comfortable and less scared to prove he is just a ordinary person that just happens to be going in the same direction. He whistles because he cares about what people think about him and he whistles because he means no harm and S/O to Heather H who I agree with!

  33. Zoey Madsen

    Zoey M.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11
    period 5
    13 October 2012

    1. Staples begins his essay by telling the story of his first “victim”. I think he used this method to have the reader first build Staples character on the story he is telling, and then later in the essay Staples will reveal what his true characteristics are. Staples first describes himself as daunting and scary and is often seen by others in this way as well. They think that his appearance indicates a danger or precaution.

    2. The complication is expressed in Staples last sentence about being equivalent to a cowbell because the sentence itself is demeaning. It throws him under the bus, saying that he is equivalent to something with such little meaning. He shouldn’t have to whistle and make people feel more comfortable, but he does because he feels as though he has no choice. The emotional distress of all these stories Staples tell are expressed in his last sentence of the essay because he doesn’t break free of the stereotype, instead he puts himself in a box where he feels it’s his duty to make everybody comfortable with his presence.

    4. In all honesty, in the beginning of the story I understood the lady that was nervous about Staples walking behind her. I felt this way because I’ve been out really late at night and there was one situation that I was worried that I was being followed by somebody as well. Although, I didn’t know what race the man was because it didn’t matter to me. I just wanted to make sure I was going to get home safe. So, I understood her thought process, but I don’t think it’s right to believe you’re in danger simply because the person is African American. Or even Hispanic, Indian, etc. The understanding of the women gave me a more open outlook on the book because after reading I felt like I understood both sides, and that maybe the man I encountered when I was out late had the same feelings. It made the essay enjoyable to read because I felt like I could relate to a character, and then open my eyes to other characters points of view as well.

  34. Johan Ocegueda

    Johan Ocegueda
    Ap English
    period 1
    13 October 2012
    1) Staples describes himself as any other male that you see walking down the street. He is just another kid of the bunch. But to the others he is one of the bad kids, they cross the street before they get to him just because he is an African American. He describes a white lady at the start of the his writing as his first “victim”. he says this because its his first victim of fear, even though he does nothing offensive, he is just minding his own bussiness but people still seem to habe fear for him.
    2) Staples uses the way in which a hikers use cowbells when they step into bear territory to show them he means no harm. That is the clue that lets the bears know that they can live on with life, the hiker is not going to do anything to harm them. And its the same with Staples, he is stepping into dangerous territory, he needs that little something that will help him show that he is a friend not an enemy. whistling is that tool he uses to shw the rest of the people that he means no harm to them.
    4) The woman in the beginning was afraid, she was afraid of what a lot of females have gone through. We as men have not been the best of people towards women, we are no angels. Women have a reason to show fear, ever sense the past we gave them nothing but reasons to show fear. But I do feel it is unfair to show more fear towards an African American than to a white guy. Men are all the same, it is not about the raise or the color. Ever raise has their bad people and their good people, there is no reason to fear one man more than the other just because the color of his skin.

  35. Dominique N.

    1. Staples describes himself as a young black undergraduate male, who is relatively soft with people and things in his surroundings. Staples is sometimes mistaken as a criminal or burglar to a majority of people in his community.

    2. The situations of Staples whistling classical music is being the “equivalent of the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country” because Staples knows he is seen as a danger or intruder, like most people would be to bears in bear country. Staples took the opportunity to make himself noticeable and seem more gentle and less harmful so people who saw him as a potential criminal could be warned about his presence, just like a bear would with a human in bear country.

    4. Whom I identified myself with in this essay was the white woman in the park for I myself am I woman. Just like her, if I was in an unsafe place by myself and I saw a man late at night, no matter what ethnicity he was I would have done the same thing she did and booked out of there. When Staples first said “My first victim was a woman” I immediately thought that he raped or harmed her, when in reality he was the victim of the judgmental actions of this woman and the rest of the people in this essay. This affected me because it made me see a different point of view, and I was exposed how others interpreted black males like Staples.

  36. Gonzalo Haro

    Gonzalo Haro
    AP Lang. and Comp.
    Ms. Keeble
    October 12, 2012

    1) Staples describes himself as a “softy”. He is the type of person that wouldn’t find it in himself to do harm to anyone. Other people, however, think of him as a “a mugger, a rapist, or worse”. They judge him simply by the fact that he is black.

    2) Staples compares himself to a hiker, whistling to keep the bears away. In this case the bears are his “victims”, which is ironic because the bears are the ones that cause harm, not the hikers. He wants to the bears know he is there by wearing a cowbell; to let them know he means no harm. When Staples whistles classical music, his victims lighten up, because people that are stereotyped to like classical music are high-class, rich, white people, making them feel like he’s friendly.

    4) I identify with Staples, because I have been in situations where I’m walking alone in the street, and I notice people change their posture and become weary when I walk past them. I don’t really know whether it was because I was a “crazy teen”, or because I’m Latino. I think of myself as a very friendly person and it really upsets me that people would just judge me by simply looking at me. I read the text with a bit of anger, because I think it’s really unfair how minorities, mostly black and Latino males, are immediately judged by some people that don’t know any better.

  37. Tanzeel H.

    Tanzeel Hak
    AP English
    Ms. Keeble
    12 October 2012

    1) Staples describes himself as a reporter and columnist. By others he is seen as a criminal, mugger, and rapist. People just assume the worst from him.

    2) Staple’s whistling is common to a hiker with a bell because they both build some amount of comfort for others around them. Like many people already stated, Staples whistles so he can build common ground and make himself not look intimidating. He wants everyone to know he means no harm.

    4) It was interesting how Staples put himself into a bad light by beginning the story the way he did. I can understand it from the woman’s point of view as most of us would be cautious and nervous if we believed someone was following us at night regardless of their gender or race. Although, through reading the whole story we all realized that Staples was the actual victim in many different cases. Sadly, there’s a ton of innocent people that get stereotyped on a daily basis.

  38. Ross H.

    Ross H
    Keeble
    apeng 11
    12 October 2012
    1. He describes him self as a “softy” he would not harm anyone. To others he is a rapist, a mugger, and a killer, just because of his race.

    2. The whistle is a form of the cow bell. It is to warn people that he is coming towards their “bear territory”. It is a place that he should not belong, but he is going in anyway. Knowing that people are going to judge him, and he is just trying to worn “the bears”.

    4. I did not identify with anyone in the start of the essay. I am a teenage male, I am neither a black man or a white women, yet if I had to choose one person it would be the women. i am a person that would walk around and be afraid of every one in sight. If Staples was a white man I would still not stay around to find out how this person was. This did not change how I read the essay, I still thought the same thing about the essay if I had no connection to the women at all. I read it with an open heart and mind.

  39. Jessica A

    Jessica A
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11, Per. 5
    12 October 2012

    1. Staples describes himself as a softy who can’t cut a raw chicken. He’s filled with good intentions. Others see him as a menace because he falls into the stereotype of black males. He’s often mistaken for a criminal, rapist, murderer, etc.

    2. The complication of these situations is expressed by the last sentence of this essay because it shows that in order for Staples to be less alienated, he must present himself in a way that distorts the stereotype of black males in other peoples’ minds. In other words, he uses an analogy by comparing himself singing classical tunes to the cowbells that hikers wear when they are in bear country. Whistling classical tunes displays that Staples is of no harm, likewise with hikers wearing cowbells.

    4. At the start of Staples’s essay, I identified with the white woman, because there have been times where I felt threatened by those who were lurking behind me. Because similar situations have occurred in my own life, it made me feel more attracted to his essay. At the end of his piece, I began to grasp a better understanding of how stereotypes can alienate certain groups of people.

  40. Natasha R.

    Natasha Ramirez
    Keeble
    AP English
    Period 5
    12 October 2012

    1)Brent is a college student that attends school in Chicago.He is seen by others as a criminal by society because of his race.
    2) Brent compares himself to a hiker in bear territory because he is minding his own business where he knows that he is the potential threat in that area. The bell he brings up is pretty much explaining that he is scaring the people when he whistles down the street.
    4) I identified myself with the woman because if i was in that situation of walking down the street by myself , knowing that a large man was walking behind, I’d be scared for my own safety. The reason is that there are many cases of women being raped or robbed when walking down the street.

  41. niauni

    Niauni Hill
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English, Period 1
    12 October 2012
    Response

    1. Staples describes himself as a public offender and a softy. He calls himself a softy because he can’t hurt a raw chicken, neither can he take a knife to someone’s throat. He is just an African-American male who lives in New York. He is seen in the eyes of others as a mugger, rapist and a criminal.

    2. In the ending of the essay, Staples compares his whistling to classical music. This means that he means no harm. By whistling this classical tune, he is showing that he is mellow.

    4. At the beginning of the essay, I related with the lady who quickened her pace late that night. I relate with her, because if I was in her situation, I would of reacted the sane regardless of who it was. However; I would have not sped up my pace because of the race of the individual…I just take precaution

  42. Johanna G.

    Johanna G.
    Keeble
    AP English, Per. 2
    11 October, 2012

    1.) Staples describes himself as a “softy” who would simply just not hurt an animal or person. However, in some cases, people see him as a criminal and think that he is going to make trouble for others.
    2.) The last sentence about Staples’s whistling classical music is “the equivalent of the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country” because he was whistling so that the people around him would notice that he wasn’t dangerous. As he said, “Virtually everybody seems to sense that a mugger wouldn’t be warbling bright, sunny selections from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,” doing this makes the people that surround him feel more calm just as how a hiker wears a cowbell when he is bear country. A hiker would do this because it warns the bear in a non-alarming way that they are not being approached by a predator.
    4.) In the beginning of the essay, I identified Staples to be some sort of criminal or more specifically, a rapist because he started out with writing, “My first victim was a woman…” This affected my reading by looking at him negatively because it seemed as if he was portraying himself in a bad way. However, once I started to read further into the essay, I got to know him a bit more and recognized that he wasn’t the victim at all, but that he was being victimized by the others who made snap judgments of him.

  43. Jhoann B.

    Jhoann B.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English Period 2
    11 October 12

    1. Staples initially describes himself as a public offender, but later reveals that he is a victim of societal stereotypes. People sometimes misjudge him as a criminal, assuming that he is mugger, rapist, robber, etc.

    2. Like how hikers wear cowbells for security when they are in bear country, Staples whistles classical music in order to protect himself from negative stereotypes and prevent the people around him from feeling threatened. He understands that society has a proclivity to prejudge people and attempts to promote a positive first impression so he can be accepted by people in the community, using stereotypes to his advantage.

    4. I identified myself with the woman at the start of Staples’s essay because a similar situation happened to me before where I noticed a stranger walking behind me late one night and felt threatened. Staples’ essay made me more aware of my tendency to judge people and understand that society is plagued by stereotypes.

  44. Caitlin H.

    Caitlin Huie
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English Per 2
    11 October 2012

    1.) He describes himself as “a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken…” Staples is just a regular guy living in New York. Some strangers think of him as a mugger or a rapist. He was being perceived as dangerous in other people’s perspective.

    2.) Staples were at first surprised and dismayed when he first encountered the stereotypes. But after all the incidents he went through, he accepts that the stereotypes will always be with him wherever he goes. He can’t do anything about it so he went along with it. Staples whistles the classical music to show that he’s not dangerous. He’s trying to calm people down with his music. Staples accepts that he has to do certain actions do have people stop thinking he’s dangerous.

    4.) At the start of the essay, I identified myself with the lady. Honestly, if I were the lady I would be trying to avoid Staples too. When walking at night, I would try to stay away from anyone I don’t know. You are always thinking of the worst possible scenario when you’re out alone at night. Although I related to the woman, I still felt bad for Staples. No one should have to deal with all of the stereotypes every time they go outside. I especially don’t think that people should have to work hard just to make others feel better. People should be smarter and more realistic about what they think of others.

  45. Merritt W.

    Merritt Walker
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English Per 2
    11 October 2012

    1. In the beginning of the essay Brent Staples describes himself as a tall young-ish African-American male with a beard and billowing hair. He describes himself as a softy because he can’t even cut a raw chicken, let alone take a knife to someone’s throat. To others Brent Stables can be seen as a mugger, a rapist, a robber, or a criminal.
    2. Brent Staples wants to make other people confortable, because he doesn’t want them to be afraid of him. Even though he is the victim he is acting as if the other people are the victims. By him whistling Vivaldi or Beethoven, it makes people feel less nervous around him because a robber wouldn’t be singing classical music; only “educated” people would be singing it. He is giving the people what they want, but he shouldn’t have to, because they are being stereotypical towards him.
    4.In the very first paragraph I identified with the woman. When Brent Staples said “My first victim was a woman,” I thought Brent Staples did something to her. If I was the woman I would be scared walking home at dark. It doesn’t matter what race the man is, I would be gaining speed if I thought he was following me, and I would probably cross the street if he was heading towards me. I saw that Brent Staples was using irony when he said victim because he truly was the real victim. After reading the piece I no longer identified with the woman, because I understand that a lot of people get stereotyped, and this is what happened to Brent Staples. He is an educated black man, and yet he is thought upon as if he were a thug.

  46. Sidney

    Sidney M
    Ap English
    October 11, 2012

    1. Staples described himself as a young  well educated man. He is often stereotyped as a suspicious character and considered the mugger type. Unfortunately he has been confronted with  many unfair situations in “Urban America.” He was thought of as a mugger/ rapist, and wasn’t believed to work as a journalist. He was almost taken out of his own building. 

    2.Unfortunately  because of the color of Staples’ skin, he must take extra precaution. When amongst society he must be extra protective in order to not cause problems. Just the way hikers wear cowbells in order to scare off bears, Staples whistles to scare of the publics fears and stereotypical views of him. 

    4.In the beginning of the story I connected better with the fear portrayed by Staples as the woman. I  wasn’t afraid because of his race but rather his gender in general. It effected me through out the reading in a semi good way. Because now when I’m suspicious of men following me as I walk, I will try to make it clear that it isn’t their race I’m afraid of, but the dangers that anyone can commit in this world. Staples helped me realize his point of view as the man more clearly and as I read on I understood his struggles more. 

  47. Elvia Lopez

    Elvia Lopez
    AP Engligh, Period 5
    Ms. Keeble
    11 October, 2012

    1) Staples describes himself as every other person. Although he might be intimidating, he will not do any bad to anyone. He is sometimes seen as a cruel person. They see him as a bad person such as rapist or murderer. They judge him by how he looks and not towards how he really is.
    2) That complication relates to the situation by the last line that not any person could be free because they will always be criticized somehow. In this occasion Staples, because he is being treated unequal by having people judge him for someone he is not. He is not free in spirit because he will always have people accusing him and being afraid of him when his lifestyle is like everybody else’s.
    4)I identified Staples as a very strong man. To know that you are being criticized in so many types of ways, it is really sad and devastating. I didn’t think that it was his fault that people saw him as a criminal because everyone is different in their own ways and that should be respected. This affected my reading because I would think about him and some of the pain he would be going through. I would think to myself how injustice that is to run away from someone just because they look like a criminal. I easily compared it to todays society and community on how many people treat other or criticize them on their appearance or actions.

  48. Kiala A.

    Kiala Aranas
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11, per. 5
    11 October 2012

    1. Staples begins his essay by identifying a white woman as his first “victim” that was subject to “his ability to alter public space in ugly ways”. Beginning an essay in such a manner leads the reader presume that the speaker had done something awful, so much that he called her his victim; therefore Staples is describing himself almost as a monster, or “an accomplice in tyranny”. In the various situations that Staples depicts for the reader, he vividly writes of the fear he instills in the people by simply being.
    2. Staples whistled classical music to make those around him more comfortable, and to take the edge off of his thuggish/fearsome image. The author compares his whistling to “the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country” as a precaution of sorts. If the reason why hikers wear a cowbell in bear country is taken into consideration, relating the whistling isn’t so confusing. Both the hikers and Staples are aware of their surroundings; thus taking the precautions that they did to preserve the calm in the atmosphere.
    4. As a young female, I identify most in the beginning with the “first victim” that Staples writes of. As a female of non-dominant ethnic groups, I identify with Staples. With that being said, it provides an understanding on both sides, which was in fact refreshing to know that people are aware of how they affect the public space they fill.

  49. Heather H.

    Heather H.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11- Period 2
    11 October 2012

    1. In his essay “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Spaces”, Staples describes himself as a “softy”, saying that he could not harm a living creature. Others sometimes see him as a potential perpetrator of unspeakable crimes and a reason to be afraid simply because of his race.

    2. In the last sentence of his essay, Staples compares his whistling classical music to cowbells that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country. This summaries his awareness of how people perceive him. In a society of bears, he is a hiker. This means that he means no harm. By whistling his tunes, the equivalent of wearing a cowbell, he is signaling his peaceful intentions in hopes that no one acts in a defensive manner. Just as a wary person in the woods might shoot a moving figure if that person knows he or she is in bear country, a scared citizen may act inappropriately if he or she doesn’t know if a stranger is friend or foe.

    4. At the start of Staples’s essay, I identified with the woman who quickened her pace in order to get away from Staples late at night in the park. I am a very paranoid person, and if I am anywhere alone in the dark, I assume that every moving thing is out to destroy me. I do not believe this had any impact on my reading of the full piece, however. I would not have walked faster merely because of the man’s race, so it did not come as a shock to me when it turned out that Staples was not menacing.

  50. Thomas T

    Thomas T.
    Ap English
    Period 1
    12 October 2012
    1. Scalp describes himself as a black male college student deprived of sleep. People view him as a sexual predator, thief, or guilty of some crime.

    2. When Staples compares himself to the hikers, he is implying that he is in a territory in which he needs to caution himself through the use of whisting. The whistling is equivalent to the cowbells hikers wear to alert bears that there are living beings in their territory. The cowbell or whistling is just a means to find common ground.

    4. I identified the woman in the beginning as a person who was self-conscious and scared of Staples. I was hoping for the woman to somehow find inner courage to stand up to Staples rather than let her own imagination stomp over her.

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