In the mid-1900's, Discrimination had overruled minorities. In Maya Angelou's “Graduation” and Audre Lorde “Fourth of July”, these authors are faced with challenges that fit them for reality. However, they are challenged differently for they had different ethnicities. Angelou is a southern black girl while Audre Lorde is the daughter of two Caribbean immigrants. Despite this difference, they had a few similarities. One is that they were both eighth graders while experiencing discrimination first hand and second they become furious due to being discriminated. Angelou wanted to graduate peacefully and Lorde wanted a happy vacation to Washington DC with her family, but sadly that could not occur because they were minorities.
During her graduation, two speeches were given, one was from a fellow black student who directed his speech in the way of pathos in which he tried to evoke emotion and motivate all the students to be their best despite their backgrounds. The other speaker was a white man, who was an elected official and went more the way of ethos, using ethical words, which made him lose the audience. He implied that all the white kids would go on to do great things and all the black kids would go to be athletes or do some sort of social work. In Maya’s essay titled “Graduation,” Angelou mentions “The white kids were going to have a chance to become Galileos and Madame Curies and Edisons and Gauguins, and our boys (the girls weren’t even in on it) would try to be Jesse Owenses and Joe Louises” (51). From this quote I can resonate with the fact that people, including my mother thought that white kids had more of an opportunity to be great as opposed to minorities, which is why she moved me so I could be a Galileo, or a Madame Curie. Also, that shows how I might relate to Maya in the fact that even though they are two completely different times, the reality is that based on race or being colored there is a pre-placed weight on one’s shoulder to break past that. Another quote that resonated with me personally is when Angelou discusses the speech made by Henry Reed- “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” (Reed qtd. in Angelou 53). I personally think that this quote compares Maya and I’s thinking because she felt like she had no control over her life and it was determined, and at one point my mother felt like that was going to be my path, however we both chose to be the “captain of our own soul”. I could of chose to be a stereotype and be like the majority but I decided to take my life into my own hands
A race war between whites and blacks has blighted American history since colonial times. In her essay “Graduation,” Maya Angelou recollects the experience of her eighth grade graduation in the 1930s to examine the personal growth of humans caught in the adversity of racial discrimination. Through narrative structure, selection of detail, and use of imagery, Angelou encourages young blacks to follow their ambitions with pride, despite what the “white man” thinks of them.
When Maya has friends over she tries to keep them sheltered from that part of her life, because she doesnt want them to know about the kind of culture she belongs to. When you look out into the world many people relate to Maya, they all want to hide the kind of culture they grew up in and the kind of lifestyle they live in. These people will hide who they are on a day to day basis because of their culture. These people try to avoid the question “whats that” or “why is that hung up and what does it mean” or they just want to avoid being bullied because of
Maya Angelou’s essay is describing her eighth grade graduation and the racism that was prominent at that time. With an explanation of the roles at graduation, she begins excited for her own graduation but as she listens to the speech of a white man, she becomes angered with the racial discrimination that was hinted at in his speech. In the midst of her anger, she regained hope from the black valedictorian’s speech and proudly stated that her race still continued to live happily even with the limited opportunities that were given.
An example of Maya facing racism is during her eighth grade graduation. Maya was so excited to graduate. The school she attended enrolled both whites and blacks. First of all during the assembly the blacks had to recite their own national anthem titled “ The Negro National Anthem”. The principal gave a speech the the students and instead of treating the kids equal, he proudly stated the new achievements the whites were going to have, and
For all of Marguerite’s life she has dealt with the horrible rude effects of racism. Regardless of these bad events she is a very smart and is imaginative. The major things that the young girl Marguerite encountered were white prejudice, black powerlessness, and strong female subjugation. All of these have strong effects on anyone who would have to deal with problems such as these horrible ones listed. She grew up in this era of racism and was affected by it on a regular basis. She would have these extravagant dreams of being Caucasian in skin tone and being a beautiful girl instead of a dark skinned
“The needs of a society determine its ethics, and in the black American ghettos the hero is that man who is offered only the crumbs from his country 's table but by ingenuity and courage is able to take for himself a Lucullan feast. Hence the janitor who lives in one room but sports a robin 's-egg-blue Cadillac is not laughed at but admired, and the domestic who buys forty-dollar shoes is not criticized but is appreciated. We know that they have put to use their full mental and physical powers. Each single gain feeds into the gains of the body collective” (Angelou 218). Maya believes that blacks are being robbed of their lives and freedom to explore, grow, and succeed. This statement shows that ones with the very little they have will utilize it completely and have that to their advantage, and then they will succeed. Racism and prejudice are large factors that shapes Maya’s autobiography and eventually motivate her to ignore all of the negative influences and build her confidence. There are also many violent events towards blacks that show Maya the severity of prejudice in her society. One day when Maya was at the store a fight was on the radio where a black man and white man were battling in a boxing ring. When the black fighter Louis was getting beaten Maya thought, “It was our people falling. It was another
In “My Name is Margaret”, Maya Angelou, the author of this short story, elucidates upon a fictional scenario depicting the dictating entitlement and superiority exposed to a myriad of African Americans during her generation. Angelou demonstrates this racial contrast by emphasizing the feeling of irrelevance through the looking glass
In the story, the myth of a Latin of woman she stated how growing up as a Puerto Rican girl was very difficult, her life was very different from a regular normal teenager her family had kept her under surveillance. Her family was watch her because she a girl and was expected to continue her family tradition and honor and expected her to act like a “proper senorita”. As a teenage she was force to be an adult. Cofer had to be different she had to be an adult and dress older than most of her other friends. The life she was living was very different than any other girls she had knew, she always labeled and stereotyped. Later, when cofer had grown up she experience a few different situations where she was being stereotype. “The first was when a man was singing an offense Spanish song to her
She is ridiculed for not only being if Hispanic descent in this text, but for also being a female in a traditional Hispanic house-hold. An example of this is, "Girl. We can't play with a girl.' Girl is my brother's new favorite insult now instead of 'sissy', 'You girl', they yell at each other, 'You throw like a girl"(Cisneros). This show that, in their traditional Hispanic culture, the men and boys have a higher rank in their family, compared to the girls. This is also an example of, putting her in her place, and not among the
Prejudice, discrimination, or opposition against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s race is superior is called racism. In stories “Finishing School” by Maya Angelou and “What’s in a Name?” by Henry Louis Gates Jr. racism is revealed by the main characters who showed similarities and differences within the time. Racism is portrayed in “Finishing School” and “What’s in a Name?” through the setting, circumstances, and characters reactions.
In the time period that this story was written, a person’s background meant something as a name was a sense of wealth and worth. Since Desiree was adopted, her background was unknown and when Armand decided to marry Desiree he didn’t care because he would give her his name as all he cared about was his affection for her. For a little while all was well in the household. Desiree and Armand were happier than ever, and Armand treated his slaves better. This soon took a drastic turn as everyone noticed that their son had begun to show qualities of a Negro. Once these features were noticed, Armand’s attitude towards his wife and his slaves changed for the worst. In Armand’s eyes Desiree was at fault for giving the child those features since her history was unknown. Even after Desiree gives her husband evidence that she may not be a carrier, she and her child are still banished from the home and sent on their way.
Maya Angelou describes what her life with her grandmother is like while constantly being discriminated against her race. She then found her father, and he leaves Maya and Bailey off to their mother’s house. There, the mother’s boyfriend rapes Maya. After suffering from psychological shock, Maya then moves back to her grandmother’s. As a teenager Maya gets nervous about her sexual identity and tries to discover it. Through these harsh times, the naïve and softhearted Maya grows to become a strong, independent woman.