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Compare And Contrast Essay-Stereotypes

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Autor:   •  January 1, 2011  •  964 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,074 Views

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Stereotypes are a conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, or opinion, that can create tough misconceptions of certain people, which many times turn out harsh and hurtful. In "Black Men in Public Space", by Brent Staples, and in "What is a Homosexual?" by Andrew Sullivan, the authors talk about different stereotypes and the causes of them on individuals. These two essays have plenty similarities in the way that they express themselves but the main idea of each essay is different.

In "Black Men in Public Space" and also in "What is a Homosexual?" each author talks about how they are excluded and sometimes misjudged just for being different. The main dissimilarity between these essays is that Brent Staples talks about how people classify him as being a mugger or a rapist, just for being black and walking in the streets at night, but in "What is a Homosexual?" Sullivan mainly talks about his personal experience and reflection of what is it like to be a homosexual man and feel excluded many times just for this very reason.

However, both authors use similar ways and techniques to express themselves, such as using personal anecdotes. On "Black Men in Public Space", the author starts off the essay with a personal experience, "My first victim was a woman - white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties." Then, Staples goes on talking about how the woman casts back "a worried glance" (Staples 229), and "picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest." (Staples 230) The author also explains that the woman only did this because "to her, the youngish black man - a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket - seemed menacingly close." (Staples 230) We see that Andrew Sullivan also uses several anecdotes in his work, for example when he is talking about his experience in high school: "I was fifteen and getting changed in the locker room for the first time again with a guy I had long had a crush on." (Sullivan 165). He goes on explaining how he "became literally breathless, overcome by the proximity of my desire" because the boy "took off his shirt, and unknowingly, slowly, erotically stripped." (Sullivan 165) The authors use anecdotes in their essays to show the reader how they feel and try to put them in their position, reminding them of what they are - either gay or black.

Both writers also are able to explain what they learned from their experiences. For example at the end of his essay, Staples explains how "Over the years, I learned to smother the rage I felt at so often being taken for a criminal... I would take precautions to make myself less threatening. I move about with care, particularly late in the evening. I give a wide berth to nervous people on subway platforms during the wee hours, particularly when I have exchanged business clothes for jeans." (Staples 231) He also explains more desperate measures; such as whistling melodies of the most popular classic composers, as well as other actions. Sullivan also explains to the reader what his experiences have taught him, "The gay teenager learns in that kind of event a form of control and sublimation, of deception and self contempt, that never leaves his consciousness. He learns that that which would most give him meaning is most likely to destroy him in the eyes of others; that the condition of his friendships


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