Archive: 24 February 2023

All the Easter Eggs in ‘Two Distant Strangers’ You Missed

All the Easter Eggs in ‘Two Distant Strangers’ You Missed

All the Easter Eggs in ‘Two Distant Strangers’ You Missed

The film ‘Two Distant Strangers’ takes place in the fast-moving city of New York and is inspired by Cynthia Koa’s Groundhog Day for a Black Man. The protagonist is Carter James, who is trapped in a time loop, where he re-enacts several high-profile fatal encounters that Black Americans had with police officers in the United States.

In the opening scene, we see a statute of a dog, and eventually, James’ rottweiler. While one could interpret this as dogs are loyal and friendly, another interpretation is the symbolism of how authorities and the mean-spirited have used dogs as a tool of oppression against Black Americans. According to Shontel Stewart, this idea has its origins in slavery and manifests itself in a variety of oppressive acts that target Black Americans—such as extrajudicial killings—a persistent theme in this film.

Symbolism of the WhiteCycle and Noose

We see two memorials inside James’ apartment: a white bike and a white rope tied like a noose. WhiteCycles (or ghost bikes) are often placed where the driver of a motor vehicle ended a cyclist’s life. They have also been placed in areas where a cyclist was severely injured. The WhiteCycle pays homage to Dijon Kizzee, who Los Angeles sheriffs stopped and fatally shot while riding his bicycle in 2020.

All the Easter Eggs in ‘Two Distant Strangers You Missed’ – The Encounters

Carter James’ First Encounter with New York Police

James steps out Perri’s apartment, a girl he wants to start a relationship with and adores. As James makes an effort to get home, he collides with a White man who is wearing a white shirt with blue stripes. The collision causes the White man to spill his coffee; and James to drop a wad of cash. Historically, the color white has symbolized innocence. The color blue has often symbolized trust and truth.

The incident captures the attention of a White police officer named Merk, who accuses James of smoking something other than a cigarette. James refers to Merk by his name. When James does, Merk commands him to call him sir. Although James complies, Merk snatches him and pins him against the wall. A White woman records the police brutality incident and screams, “He didn’t do anything!” which depicts allied voices—especially female voices—that carry no weight in a White patriarchal society.

Merk throws James to the ground and places him in a choke-hold. Although James pleads “I can’t breathe” several times, Merk continues to choke him. This scene observes the death of Eric Garner, who New York police officers placed in a choke-hold in 2014.[1]

The Symbology of ‘The Way It Is’ Song

James plays Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is” — a track about “a law passed in 1964,” which was remixed by Tupac Shakur in 1998. According to SMF, the law is likely a reference to a couple of statutes passed that year—the Civil Rights Act and Economic Opportunity Act—which were meant to counteract the self-same “rules” mentioned in the second verse.[2] Based on SMF’s interpretation, the song appears to be saying this: even though such laws were passed which make people change how they behave on the surface, internally their thinking remains the same.[3]

James’ Second Encounter with New York Police

In James’ second encounter, he doesn’t drop cash nor does he collide with the White male. Nonetheless, Merk still approaches James and demands to conduct an illegal search of his bag. James does not consent, stating “I know my rights.” James’ self-preservation angers Merk who then retaliates by throwing James to the ground. Merk then yells, “Do not resist!”, “Comply!” and “Let go of my gun!” American police often yell these commands during fatal encounters to justify their misconduct against Black Americans, even when Blacks have complied, are not resisting and have not reached for a weapon. In this scenario, James is shot several times. The scene observes the death of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old Black male who LAPD officers shot several times on August 11, 2014.

James’ Third Encounter with New York Police

James continues to have dreams where Merk kills him, a frightening harbinger and glimpse at a short-lived future in New York. These premonitions induces James to take a different course of action to stay alive. For example, James elects not to leave the apartment, hoping this will stop the manifestation of his death.

All seems to go well until James and Perri get an unexpected visit from New York Police, who aggressively commands they “open up!” In what seems like a second, New York Police is inside their apartment pointing their AK-47 shot guns at both James and Perri. James jolts awake after Merk shoots him several times, discovering its just another nightmare. This scene observes the death of Amir Locke, who Minneapolis police killed during a no-knock warrant search.[4]

James’ Fourth Encounter with New York Police

To escape death, James tries a different course of action. This time, James does not wear his jacket outside. But he still encounters Merk. Regardless of the direction James decides to go—whether it’s the left or right—his premonitions are the same: Merk shoots him.

James’ Fifth Encounter with New York Police

James tries a different strategy: being cordial to Merk. This strategy fails, as Merk orders James to display identification and to “keep your hands where I can see them.” They both say, “That’s a lotta money for a guy with a not-so cigarette smelling cigarette.” James explains to Merk how both of them are stuck in a time-lapse, pointing to the couple who would soon share a kiss; the girl who takes a selfie, and the boy on the skateboard who would fall. Merk asks James if he shoots him, will the cycle repeat itself. To which James replies, “Yes.”

James survives the encounter and proceeds walks down the alley. When two teens run pass him, New York police automatically assume James is affiliated with them. For example, New York police demand to know, “Where did your friends go?” which frightens James to the point he awakens from the nightmare.

James’ Sixth Encounter with New York Police

James converses with Merk, where he discloses that Merk shot him 99 times. It appears Merk is sympathetic and asks, “What do you want?” James asks Merk to drive him home. Merk’s license plate reads 1488, which symbolises hate. According to Anti-Defamation League, the first symbol is 14, which is shorthand for the “14 Words” slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”[5] The second is 88, which stands for “Heil Hitler.”

Although Merk agrees to give James a ride home, Merk places him in the back of the police vehicle. This illustrates law enforcement’s perception that Blackness equals criminality. Indeed, James finds it odd that he must ride in the back of Merk’s police car.

James then inquires, “Why you become a cop?” to which Merk claims that people “Lost respect for rule of law; lost respect for order.” Not believing Merk’s answer, James asks him for the real reason. Merk and James deeply dive into being a product of one’s environment—and it is here we learn that Merk was bullied.

The decal on the police cruiser reads: Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect. This is a signpost of how relations between law enforcement and Black Americans should/could be. While James believes that he has reached common ground with Merk, he is condescended to by Merk, who claps and says “Bravo!” Merk then reaches for his gun and shoots James in the back. This scene reveals no matter how polite Black Americans are with police, they still risk losing their life in some of the most mundane encounters. It also observes the shooting of Walter Lamar Scott, a 50-year-old man South Carolina police shot in the back.

Travon Free’s ‘Two Distant Strangers’ Explained – Ending

James lies dead in a puddle of blood that is shaped like the continent of Africa, which illustrates the genocide of African descendants in the United States. In the end, James awakens for the 100th time. Undeterred, James leaves Perri’s apartment to make yet another effort to get home.[6] And that’s All the Easter Eggs in ‘Two Distant Strangers’ You Missed.

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[1] Editors. (2020, July 15). Eric Garner dies in NYPD Chokehold. History. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from

[2] SMF, & (Optional), N. (2019, August 2). “The way it is” by Bruce Hornsby and The Range. Song Meanings and Facts. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from

[3] Id.

[4] Canada, Q. (2022). Why America Must Knock the Habit of No-Knock Warrants. Jurist. Available at:

[5] ADL (n.d.). 1488. Anti-Defamation League. Available at:

[6] Wikipedia. (n.d.).Two Distant Strangers. Wikipedia. Available at:

Direct Provision Case Brief - Guerra v. Ireland

Direct Provision Case Brief – Guerra v. Ireland

Direct Provision Case Brief – Guerra v. Ireland

Facts: Maria Guerra is a citizen of Barcelona, Spain. She is a feminist who engaged in several gender protests at Puerta del Sol square in 2021, where she carried a placard that read: “Male violence is also a pandemic.” In November 2021, three male law enforcement officers stopped Guerra while she was driving home. During the stop, they taunted Guerra for her activism. Guerra attempted to record the incident, but law enforcement officers yanked her out of the car. The law enforcement officers pinned Guerra to the pavement while each officer proceeded to sexually assault her.

Guerra fled to Ireland in 2022 and was transferred to the Baleseskin Reception Centre. While residing in Direct Provision, Guerra claims she suffered repeated acts of harassment by male asylum seekers. Guerra also claims her e-mail and website accounts were hacked into and that individuals used her real name to send false e-mails from her personal accounts. Although Guerra reported the incidents to numerous NGOs in Dublin, none took action. She also sent correspondence to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, requesting a formal meeting. However, no action was taken. The conduct transpired over a year.

Issue: Whether Ireland’s conduct rises to the level of degrading treatment and lack of respect for private life.


Article 3

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Article 8

“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

“2.  There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

Analysis of Direct Provision Case Brief – Guerra v. Ireland

Repatriation Efforts

Guerra believes her experience in direct provision is part of Ireland’s interdiction effort to drive her back to Spain. Guerra has come to this conclusion because she has launched several complaints to authority figures that has been disregarded. It is settled law that any repatriation through coercive means is a breach of Art. 33 of the Refugee Convention. Repatriation efforts, such as the repeated hacking into an applicant’s devices to intimidate and drive them back to their country, can violate Ireland’s positive obligations to protect the applicant against the real and immediate risk of forcible transfer to Spain.


In Opuz v. Turkey, hacking was defined as:

“The use of technology to gain illegal or unauthorized access to systems or resources for the purpose of acquiring personal information, altering or modifying information, or slandering and denigrating the victim. It also takes the form of violating passwords and controlling computer functions.” “Surveillance/tracking was defined as the use of technology to monitor a victim’s activities and behaviors either in real-time or historically (such as GPS tracking, or tracking keystrokes in order to recreate the victim’s computer activity).” See Opuz, no. 33401/02, §§ 72-82, ECHR 2009.

When individuals use technology to gain illegal or unauthorised access to systems or resources for the purpose of altering or modifying information and denigrating the victim, the ECtHR is likely to find a breach. In the present case, Guerra has submitted extensive documentary evidence and screenshots of changed passwords, lost e-mails, and the tracking of her keystrokes in order to recreate her computer activity. The question that must be answered is whether this conduct violates the Convention.

Guerra alleges that a man, who she once dated, is involved in the improper interception of her personal files from her laptop and e-mails. She claims Ireland dismissed the connection between her activism in Spain, the harassment in Dublin that has not been adequately addressed by officials, and the failure to take into consideration the many forms of intimidation that she had encountered while awaiting a determination on her asylum application. In Buturugă v. Romania, a cybercrime case, the ECtHR found a violation of Article 3 and Article 8 of the Convention on account of the State’s failure to fulfil its positive obligations under those provisions as it relates to cyber-harassment.

Conclusion: The ECtHR could find Ireland in violation of Article 3 and 8 of the Convention on account of its coerced repatriation efforts, and its failure to fulfil its positive obligations under those provisions.

Guerra v. Ireland is part of a series of fictional cases based on true events that have occurred in Direct Provision

Direct Provision Case Brief - Gelashvili vs. Ireland

Direct Provision Case Brief – Gelashvili vs. Ireland

Direct Provision Case Brief – Gelashvili vs. Ireland

Facts: Tamaz Gelashvili is a foreign national from Georgia. In 2016, Gelashvili went to the supermarket to buy some eggs and milk. On his way home, he witnessed an effeminate man being assaulted by a group of men. He recorded the incident on his iPhone and uploaded the footage to TikTok. The video went viral. Gelashvili soon learned the group of men were undercover police officers. Hours later, investigative police arrived at his door demanding Gelashvili turn over the footage. Gelashvili refused, as police officers did not display a warrant. The following month, Gelashvili received threatening phone calls from a variety of individuals calling him homophobic slurs. When Gelashvili reported the incident to the police, they laughed and did the same. A week later, Gelashvili was severely beaten on his way home.

In June 2016, Gelashvili filed asylum in the country of Ireland. The International Protection Accommodation Service transferred Gelashvili to the Baleseskin accommodation centre in August of 2016. In October, Gelashvili travelled back to Baleseskin from Dunne’s Supermarket and found a homophobic slur written boldly on his door. He reported the incident to management, who took no action. Days later, someone slid pornographic images of gay men under Gelashvili’s door, which implicated him in homosexuality. Other images included killings of homosexual men. Gelashvili found the images threatening. Gelashvili visited several asylum NGOs in Ireland and reported the incident. However, instead of investigating his concerns, they took no action.

Gelashvili vented to a Georgian man about his problem, one who never seemed to leave Balseskin. However, the older Georgian man accused Gelashvili of being homophobic. Gelashvili found this extremely odd. Through a confidential source, Gelashvili learned the older Georgian man was a diplomatic official behind each incident who had been sent to drive him back to Georgia.

Issue: Whether the treatment rises to the level of degrading treatment or punishment.

Rule: Article 3 of the Convention states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Analysis of Direct Provision Case Brief – Gelashvili vs. Ireland

Gelashvili believes his experience in direct provision is part of Georgia’s interdiction effort to drive him back to Tbilisi. Countries within the EU, such as Ireland, often take interdiction efforts to drive asylum seekers back to their home country. The EU has been especially active in establishing shared interdiction arrangements with Eastern European states to combat “irregular” migration by the establishment or intensification of exit control.[1] Countries may also engage in interdiction from within the territory of a cooperating state.[2] Indeed, ejections are often carried out by non-state actors with the encouragement or toleration of authorities.[3] When Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees fled to Guinea in late 2000, President Lansana Conté encouraged citizens to form militia groups to coerce refugees to “go home.”[4]

Nonetheless, any repatriation through coercive means is a breach of Art. 33 of the Refugee Convention. In MSS v. Belgium and Greece[5], the Belgian authorities engaged in coercive repatriation efforts to force the applicant back to Greece, where he lived in permanent fear of being attacked and robbed. He also submitted that his vulnerability and psychological deprivation in the State amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,[6] and the ECtHR agreed.

Contracting Parties have an obligation under Article 1 of the Convention, to secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention. See Kasymakhunov v. Russia, where the ECtHR stated this obligation includes taking measures to ensure that individuals within their jurisdiction are not subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, including such ill treatment administered by private individuals.[7] In Kasymakhunov, the ECtHR held that the Russian authorities repatriation efforts violated its positive obligation to protect the applicant against the real and immediate risk of forcible transfer to Uzbekistan, including ill-treatment in the State.[8]

Conclusion: The ECtHR could find Ireland in violation of Article 3 of the Convention on account of its coerced repatriation efforts, and its failure to protect Gelashvili against a real and imminent risk of ill-treatment in Georgia.


[1] Hathaway, J.C. (2021). The Right to Enter and Remain in an Asylum State. The Rights of Refugees under International Law. Cambridge University Press. p. 320.

[2] Id., p. 321.

[3] Id., p. 325.

[4] Id.

[5] MSS v. Belgium and Greece, Dec. No. 30696/09 (ECtHR, Jan. 21, 2011), at paras. 238-239

[6] Id.

[7] Kasymakhunov v. Russia, Dec. No. 29604/12 (ECtHR, Nov. 14, 2013), at para. 134.

[8] Id., paras. 137-141.

Florida PD Throws Black Activist in Psychiatric Facility After She Made Complaint to Bank

Florida PD Throws Black Activist in Psychiatric Facility After She Made Complaint to Bank

Florida PD throws Black activist in psychiatric facility after she made complaint to the bank her deposit was missing from her account.

Linda Stephens is a community activist and retired educator for Polk County Schools. Stephens asserts there were more than eight cameras when she deposited $600.00 into the ATM at Mid-Florida Credit Union in Bartow on April 13th, 2021. She spoke to several branch officials and showed them her receipt. Stephens also displayed her receipt to another bank official who informed her the funds would be visible in her account within 3 to 4 hours.

However, Mid-Florida never deposited the funds into her account. This discrepancy led to a dispute between Mid-Florida and Stephens. Following the dispute, a technician informed Mid-Florida that Stephens did make a deposit.

The following details of this story are a bit vague, but it appears two Florida PDs arrived on scene. Stephens asserts one officer stepped into the office and had his hand on his firearm, where he said, “I thought I heard her say ‘I have a gun and I’m going to shoot you.'”

None of the banking officials stood up for Stephens, leaving her alone to speak up for herself. Stephens further assert the Officer was intimidating her with his firearm, causing her to feel threatened. Out of fear of being shot, Stephens declared she never owned or shot a firearm, to which the Officer responded, “If you say to word gun, one more time, I’m going to arrest you.” Attempting to stand her ground, Stephens said: “gun.”

The Officer arrested Stephens, where he ejected her from the car and forced her into the booking station. There, Officers placed Stephens in a psychiatric holding facility, where they made claims against her for being psychotic and “suicidal,” which Stephens firmly disputes.

Florida PD Throws Black Activist in Psychiatric Facility After She Made Complaint to Bank. Have There Been Other Incidents?

As Stephens asserts, the ATM machine was equipped with a camera, which recorded the deposit. However, there are many instances were psychiatric abuse happens without the camera rolling.

Ryan C.W. Hall and Richard C.W. Hall also state psychiatric abuse may consist of an intentional misdiagnosis to discredit an individual, imprison them or, to cause their unemployment and loss of specific rights. An intentional misdiagnosis may also be to protect others (i.e., individuals in power). This quote appeared in Chapter 9 of Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry (2017, p. 846). Indeed, Jonathan M. Metzl calls this psychiatry abuse “protest psychosis.” In The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease (2011), Metzl draws a connection between the discriminatory perceptions of schizophrenia as a disease prone to Black people, and the continued pathologisation of them within systems that relies on language that has been shown to oppress.

Direct Provision Case Brief - Joseph v. Ireland

Direct Provision Case Brief – Joseph v. Ireland

Stress Him With Stench in Direct Provision. The Case of Joseph v. Ireland.

Direct Provision Case Brief – Joseph v. Ireland

Facts: Paul Joseph is a Canadian animal rights activist who filed asylum in Ireland in 2017. The International Protection Accommodation Service transferred Joseph to the Clare Centre in 2018. One day while Joseph was on a walk, he witnessed a group of friends bludgeoning a stray dog with a tree branch. When he arrived at Clare Centre, he reported the incident to management. Management informed Joseph they could not intervene. As a result, Joseph posted a message on the community board that read “Attacking animals is cruel, inhumane and wrong. It is a serious animal rights violation. If you see attacks of cruelty on animals contact me.” During the following week, Joseph’s call-to-action was taken down from the community board.

Days later Joseph noticed a foul smell in his room. He search for the scent throughout his room but could not locate evidence of a dead carcass. The pungent smell—what smelt to Joseph like roadkill—grew stronger as the days increased and seemed to be coming from the vent within his room. On this account, Joseph called an exterminator. However, the exterminator found no carcass within the vent; he only found blood. The exterminator instructed staff to report the incident to management as soon as practicable, as the blood could potentially spread diseases such as Salmonellosis, Campylobacter and Clostridium perfringens.

The staff in direct provision took no action. The next day, Joseph aired his concerns on his animal rights blog. He also called in the exterminator for a second time, who articulated they could not take action. After he did so, he noticed the smell became more pungent. It deprived him of sleep and also triggered his asthma.

Issue: Whether the pungent smell deprives Joseph of his right to peacefully exist within his home.

Rule: Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to respect for an individual’s private life, their family life, their home and their correspondence (letters, telephone calls and emails). Further, Article 1(1) of the UN Convention Against Torture (1984) defines torture as:

“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. ”

Analysis of Joseph v. Ireland — Stress Him With Stench in Direct Provision

Article 8 ECHR

In Airey v. Ireland, the ECtHR examined Article 8 of the Convention and stated “The Convention is a living instrument, to be interpreted in the light of present-day conditions” (para. 26). The ECtHR further stated, Article 8 embraces the right to a healthy environment. This includes but is not limited to protection against pollution, nuisances caused by harmful chemicals, offensive smells, agents which precipitate respiratory ailments, noises and so on. See also, Guerra and Others v. Italy, where the Court was concerned by nuisances (smells, noise and fumes) caused by a waste-water treatment plant close to the applicant’s home, which affected her daughter’s health. 

In the present case, the Authorities did not take necessary measures to ensure the effective protection of Joseph’s home. Here, the Authorities did not provide Joseph with essential information about the risks of the smell or about emergency procedures. In Deés v. Hungary, the ECtHR recalled that the Convention protected an individual’s right, not only to the actual physical area of his home, but also to the quiet enjoyment of that area from interferences such as noise, emissions or smells. In that case, the ECtHR found a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR (right to respect for private life and home).

Article 3 ECHR

Joseph complains of insufficient sleep over several consecutive days due to the smells and being awaken at what he refers to as “odd hours of the night.” He further alleges the treatment occurred on a continuous basisweeks before his interview with the International Protection Office. In Strelets v. Russia, the ECtHR found similar conditions to constitute inhuman and degrading treatment:

the cumulative effect of malnutrition and inadequate sleep on the days of court hearings must have been of an intensity such as to induce in the applicant physical suffering and mental fatigue. This must have been further aggravated by the fact that the above treatment occurred during the applicant’s trial, that is, when he most needed his powers of concentration and mental alertness. (para 62).

In Strelets, the ECtHR found an Article 3 violation on account of the failure of the domestic authorities to provide the applicant with adequate sleep on the days leading up to his court hearing.

Conclusion: Based on the above, the ECtHR could likely find Ireland in violation of Article 3 and 8.

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American Police Arrest Black Female After She Was Attacked By White Male

American Police Arrest Black Female After She Was Attacked By White Male

There was a controversial arrest earlier this week: American Police Arrest Black Female After She Was Attacked By White Male.

Westminster police officers in the State of Colorado arrested Charlene Gibson after she was attacked by a White male, despite the fact he faces the most serious charges of the two.

According to CBS Colorado, Gibson had permission from a Party City employee to park her car in a designated space while her friends loaded the car with birthday balloons. Gibson was approached by a man, who instructed her to move the car so that his wife on a walker could have access to the ramp. When Gibson declined do to so, and did not kowtow to his commands, he punched her in the face repeatedly. As a result, Gibson hit him back in self-defense. Law enforcement officers would soon arrived on scene. When they did, the arrested Gibson despite proof of her only acting in self-defense.

In 2019, a Kansas Black trans woman named Breonna Hill contacted law enforcement after a confrontation with a store clerk. When law enforcement officers arrived on scene, they handcuffed Hiill and kneed on her neck. In the video, the officers can be seen slamming Hill’s head onto the concrete and pulling her hands above her head. In 2020, a Black female cop named Arica Waters reported that a White male colleague had taken advantage of her sexually and found herself on trial for reporting the incident. As can be seen, Black women and trans Black women are vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of law enforcement.

Evidence clearly demonstrates when Black Americans attempt to protect themselves against attacks, the criminal system punishes them more harshly than it does Whites. These facts undoubtedly confirm the idea that America has a double standard of justice and treatment as it relates to Black Americans. 

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Review of Brent Staples' Black Men in Public Space

Review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space

This is my review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space. I am posting this review and analysis as a journal entry on the assignments I particularly enjoyed reading about while taking my Honours English class.

This piece is a harrowing exposé into the experience of Black men in the United States of America; the micro-aggressions, and implicit bias they repeatedly encounter. My first observation while reading Staples’ piece is that it gloomily shows how Black males—boys, teenagers or university students—are perceived as criminals and aggressors in American society. Whereas, those who they encounter are perceived as victims.

Staples further describes how Blackness is seen as intimidating and threatening to people in the United States. For me, this calls to mind instances of “driving while Black.” Where Blackness meets Whiteness, we often see Whiteness clutching handbags, locking car doors, policing Blackness in neighborhoods, following Blackness around in departments stores, and so on.

Staples’ piece also illustrates how Black men, who may find themselves in respectable occupations, are still perceived by society as criminals and thugs. For example, Staples described how police officers misidentified him as a killer (Staples, 1986). Police officers also held Staples at gunpoint irrespective of his status as a reporter (Staples, 1986). A similar incident happened to Dion Rabouin, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. In the video uploaded to YouTube, we see a police officer arresting Rabouin and commanding him to take a seat. He also threatens Rabouin with a charge of obstruction if he did not comply (Rebel HQ, 2023). In 2020, police in riot gear arrested Omar Jimenez, a Black correspondent for CNN, who was covering the protests in Minneapolis. Despite identifying himself as a reporter and complying with their request, Jimenez was taken into police custody (CNN, 2020). To be fair, Minneapolis police also arrested a CNN producer, who happened to be White.

My last observation is Staples’ attempt at enculturation and assimilation. To read that Staples felt he had to “whistle melodies from Beethoven and Vivaldi” (Staples, 1986) to not be perceived as non-threatening is surreal. It cannot be denied that Black Americans often engage in these self-preserving behaviours to provide those in their environment with comfort, so that Blackness can live to see another day.

If you enjoyed reading Review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space, be sure that like, share and comment.


CNN. Police arrest CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and crew on live television. 29 May 2020. 19 January 2023.

Rebel HQ. AZ Police Detain Law Abiding Black Reporter. 06 January 2023. YouTube. 19 January 2023.

Staples, Brent. Black Men in Public Spaces. 1986. . 19 January 2023.

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