Staples and Cofer Ethnicity and Gender Issues

This essay sample on Staples Essay provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.

Different Ethnicities Same Problems

When Americans meet someone new they are already sticking that person into some sort of category because of their appearance. If someone looks different than Americans are use to, they automatically stick some sort of stereotype to them. Stereotypes are strongly displayed in the media; stereotype can be based of someone’s color, culture, religion, or sex.

In Black men in public spaces by Brent Staples, and in The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria by Judith Ortiz Cofer, the authors talk about stereotypes based on their gender and ethnicity and the experiences they both encounter because of their ethnicity and gender which have many similarities and differences. Stereotypes can lead to hatred and discrimination against other groups.

The problem with stereotyping is it is identifying an individual based on a group a person belongs to, which is not right because each individual is their own person.

Stereotypes can be true, and are sometimes false that is why a person should only be Judged by who he/she is, each person is unique in his/her own way. Cofer addresses the stereotypes of Latin women, while Brent Staples points out the social views of African American men by both displaying the stereotypes stuck to them, how the grew up, and encounters with strangers to reveal the similarities and differences they face concerning ethnicity.

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No matter what ethnicity a person is, it seems as if everyone has to face being Judged based on his/ her ethnicity and getting some kind of stereotype stuck to them.

The Myth Of The Latin Woman I Just Met A Girl Named Maria

Both Staples and Cofer had to experience being stereotyped, but the way the handle the situation had some similarities. For staples him being an African American man he had to face being Judged by many people and being seen as a criminal. He expresses the feeling of rage because he was always being perceived as a criminal. He describes how many people, no matter what color, reacted when he walks by. He even noticed people lock their car doors as he walks past them, how they cross the street to avoid him, and how some women clutch onto their purses when they walk by him.

Mr. Staples understands the fear as well as the real danger that everyone faces everyday however, he still feels alienated about constantly be perceived as a criminal because he was African American and a male. Cofer also goes through life feeling alienated, he notices how she dresses is different from what Americans are used to so she gets singled out from the group and harassed. Growing up Staples had to deal with seeing gangs killing others, people getting locked away, and seeing young friends and family members being buried. Staples 61) While Cofer grew up with strict parents and constantly being told how to act and dress. (Cofer 1 54) Both Cofer and Staples had to deal with having issues to fit it. Staples was a good boy and stood out for that reason he did not participate in the violence and gangs. He knew he did not want to o down the same paths as his friends did which was odd to the people where he group up at. , while Cofer also struggled with not fitting in because she was of different ethnicity and did not dress like the others. They both had went through being Judged growing up because of them being different.

Where Staples grew up it people did, and for Cofer it was odd to Americans to see her dress like people in her home country. Although both the essays are dealing with stereotypes among a certain group, Staples’ encounters with people are very different than Cofer’s. In Cofer’s essay, the average Latin woman has to deal with others assuming they are ome kind of sex symbol. There is no fear associated with these Latina women because they do not look intimidating but rather sexy or domestic, they are approached with sexual advances or as if they were all house keepers, maids, or waitresses.

In Staple’s case, he was not only Judged by his intimidating appearance, but also feared by all who came across him. As opposed to Cofer, where people are approaching and harassing her. Staples is seen as a threat and is unapproachable to all who come across his large stature. Staples explains how during several instances while walking around at night he would notice how individuals changed their eactions when they saw him. Staples describes how he would hear the sound of car doors being locked when he would cross a street with cars waiting for the traffic light to change (Staples 60).

Staples also explains how tense it would get when he would walk down the street at night with other pedestrians around. Although Staples was everything but a mugger, the people he came across at night from fearing him. Staples was clearly seen as some sort of predator while Cofer was seen as the prey who is constantly approached and being harassed with negative and insulting comments. She was stopped and harassed on many occasions by men singing ffensive songs to her. Staples was nothing like a criminal, what most people assumed he was, he was an educated individual who had an intimidating appearance from his height and dark skin color.

Staples is mainly Judged for his larger statue, skin color, and gender which comes off to be considered dangerous to people, while Cofer is also Judge on outer appearance which comes off to be domestic or sexy. Brent Staples, because he is black is perceived as a criminal; Judith Cofer is a Latina and is mistaken for a waitress. Both individuals have numerous examples of when they have been done wrong or discriminated against. When Staples was working as a Chicago Journalist, he was rushing into the office and mistaken by the manager as a burglar or criminal.

Cofer went through something similar, when she was about to do her first poetry reading, she had been mistaken for waitress by some older women. Staples and Cofer both had Justified reasons to become upset in these situations and every other situation they have encountered, but instead of becoming upset they decide to do something to correct these misconceptions. Staples always considered himself to be in the wrong in these situations, while Cofer made herself the victim. Staples accepts that people are always going to Judge him because he is a African American male, and he feels he should change himself.

As Cofer sees it oppositely, she wants the people who that have these misconceptions to change their ways, not only that she wants them to realize why they should change, and to become more knowledgeable when it comes to different cultures. Both authors are different genders so very different stereotypes apply to them in a different way.. Although Cofer and Staples were both of different ethnicity and gender they both faced many of the same issues of ethnicity, though different scenarios.

What was different from Staples and Cofer then other individuals knew these stereotypes were wrong so they both wanted to prove so. Both Authors had a purpose to writing these essays, Staples wanted to reveal to society how peoples perception of the Black Male is affecting them, and Cofer’s purpose was to address the misconception of the stereotypes of Latin women. In the end, some people may agree with Staples and Cofer’s purpose and feel stereotypes are wrong, but some will not and may still believe them. Stereotypes are not going away today or anytime soon but it is import that people do not add to them.

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Staples and Cofer Ethnicity and Gender Issues. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Staples and Cofer Ethnicity and Gender Issues
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