Comparison of two stories
The purpose of the essay is to compare and contrast the stories `Darkness at Noon` by Harold Krents and `Black Men and Public Space` by Brent Staples - Comparison of two stories introduction. Black Men and Public Space recount the author’s own experiences with racial prejudice from the late 1940’s to recent times. While Krents in Darkness at Noon presents some common misconceptions about blind people. The authors use anecdotes to draw attention to the preconceived notions and inaccurate judgments of society.
Staples in his story describes several occasions when he was racially profiled. He describes a late-night encounter with a woman on a street. Since, he was a young black man dressed in a particular fashion the woman assumes him to be a rapist, mugger or worse and decides to run away. Krents on the other hand illustrates three anecdotes when judgments were passed on him by various unassuming people. Some presume that since he was blind he couldn’t hear either. While others believed that his blindness also affected his ability to speak. The hardest part of being blind was convincing people that his disability did not affect his work.
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Both the authors make it clear to the audience that they have attained a good education and employment in spite of the difficulties presented by their backgrounds and society’s narrow vision for them. Krents mentions his qualifications which include a cum laude degree from Harvard College and Staples earned a degree from University of Chicago. Despite the fact that he was born blind Krents worked as a partner in a distinguished Washington, D.C law firm while Staples worked as an editorial writer for The New York Times.
While Staples describes his anger and resentment over racial profiling and his inability to walk the streets like a normal person Krents describes the discrimination he faced when applying for law firms. Krents hides his emotions with well-thought out humor while Staples uses emotion, intellect and irony to build up his story. Both authors agree that even though discrimination in society against them is lessening but it never completely ends. While Staples admits that black men are often perpetrators of violent attacks however Krents does not believe that the biases against blind people are ever justified.
In my opinion Krents has a more optimistic view about society. He believes that a time will come when blindness will not be viewed as a burden in the workplace. On the contrary Staples is of the view that no laws or regulation can ensure the fair and equal treatment of everyone. He feels the need to make himself accepted so that others feel more comfortable around him. He does so by whistling melodies from Vivaldi and Beethoven hoping that people will realize that muggers and rapists don’t whistle classical music. He is left with no choice but to learn to deal with the common perception of black men in public. Nevertheless, both the authors hope that their own experiences will help shatter the long-standing stereotypes regarding colored people and all kinds of disabilities.
Staples, Brent. “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space.” 1986. 6 Aug.
2006 < http://facstaff.uww.edu/carlberj/Journal3.htm>.
Krents, Harold. “Darkness at Noon”. http://www.ldresources.org/?p=268