Brent Staples (b. 1951)

African American journalist and essayist. Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, Staples earned his B.A. from Widener University and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Chicago. After several years teaching college psychology, he began his career in journalism with a brief stint at the Chicago Sun-Times before joining the New York Times in 1983. Staples has often written about the role of race in American culture, striving to broaden the consideration of the “black experience”—an expression he says he despises—beyond stereotypes of poverty and crime. Indeed, a list of his recent New York Times articles includes topics as diverse as plagiarism, gardening, and urban wildlife. In 1990 he joined the Times editorial board. His memoir, Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White, was published in 1994. See also nyt.com.