The Desire Of Talk Back Essay

2383 WordsNov 30, 201610 Pages
The desire to “talk back” is fueled by an intense rage that seems to have begun at a very young age. Assata’s childhood was filled with contradictions. Despite affirming that her family instilled in her “a sense of personal dignity” (19), she notes that, for them, “pride and dignity were hooked up to things like position and money” (20). Her grandparents associated being good enough with having the same things white people had. In this way, her “awareness of class differences in the Black community came at an early age” (20-21). Although she was raised to believe she was good enough, this was not the message that the environment constantly communicated to her. She attended segregated schools and grew up amidst an unconscious rhetoric of self-hatred fostered by beauty stereotypes that included skin bleaching, hair straightening, and the rejection of numerous body parts: thick lips, wide nose, kinky hair. All of these distorted beauty expectations disrupted her identity as a black girl. If she was expected to behave as whites did, why didn’t she have the same things as they? she wondered. This caused a great amount of resentment toward her mother, for example, for not having “freshly baked cookies” (37) upon her arrival from school —like white kids in the commercials did—, and resentment towards having to do chores, which white kids did not have to do. The anger continues to build up and appears to reach its childhood peak when she tells the story of a white boy she attacked

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