Black men and public space in Arabic world

Elhachimi Rachid

2020 / 11 / 29

When I read “Black Men and public space”, the essay of Brent Staples, I feel that our world is more terrible than I imagined. In reality, there is no equality in our public spaces--;-- some groups have always higher status than others on account of discrimination which can be based on many different characteristics: gender, weight, race, religion…etc.
The text focuses on discrimination based on skin color in United States. From his personal experience in many places in this country, the author tries to describe how tough is his life because of social discrimination that people have against him as a black man, especially because of his work as a journalist among a white society.
Firstly, he starts by explaining the fear in other’s eyes, just because of his appearance, particularly in his story with the white woman in Chicago when he was late night walking. At that time, he realized how life becomes ugly and dangerous.
Staples talks also how he was mistaken for a burglar and a fellow journalist was mistaken for a killer.
These incidents made him depressed to see that all the black men are misjudged and overrepresented among the perpetrators of that violence.
In this context, the writer says: “As a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken – let alone hold one to a person’s throat – I was surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed all at once.”
From this quote, I can understand that the author feels that he is represented always as a killer because he is black, but in reality he is not--;-- he is a peaceful, cultured and sensitive man.
In order to deal with the misunderstandings, Staples whistles classical music as a way of assuring others that he is not a dangerous man.
In my experience, black men tend to be more suffered than white. In fact, we wake up each morning to hear a terrifying story about the pain which the black people are in. I remember when I was 18 years old, a graduate student newly arrived at the University. I used to accompany a black girl from my village and we’ve been close friends. But by the time I noticed that everybody at the faculty was bullying me just because we hang out together, that’s pushed me to start making excuses in order to avoid meeting her and even in sometimes I tried to ignore her.
This incident pushed me in 2018 to write my first novel “The memory of the narcissus”, which is about social discrimination against black men in Morocco. For me, it was a good occasion to describe how black people in our country, especially in the south east, suffer from racism because of their color--;-- unfortunately they have always lower status than white people.
In this year, I wrote an other novel in French: “Sufi house”. It allows me to focus on our negro culture.
These are two stories that are woven together, the first tells the story of the Negro girl Railla, living in Dar Gnaoua with her mother and sister Shams. After the death of the grandfather, Rahila had only one dream: to go to school so that she would be able to read a historical manu--script-- of the family s ancestor. One day, at the time she believed she went to enroll in school, she is sold by her uncle to the royal palace to spend her entire life there as a "slave".
The second story is the historical manu--script-- that Rahila cannot read. It tells the story of Sidi Blal Bnou Mohammad Soudani, who built this House of Gnaoua in the middle of the desert, a house of unconditional Love and intercultural encounters, and founded this spiritual Tarîqa of seeking God. It is through this story that I was able to focus on the episodes of the creation of the slave arm of Al-Bukhârî by Sultan Moulay Ismail towards the end of the 17th century. In truth, this king forced the bourgeois to sell his slaves to him, and drove the harratins (free negroes) by force into slavery.
Modern Discussion