Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'S What's In A Name Essay

Henry Louis Gates Jr S What S In A Name Term paper

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In Henry Louis Gates, Jr. s, What s in a Name, a childhood incedent takes place that deals with his father assuming the name George from a white man he passes in the street. Gates method is effective because it informs people of some of the problems that still go on today with African-American, and helps us learn where and when to take a stand. Taking a stand at the right time
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can lead other people to see efforts going on and join the resistance. Much like Gates father I was forced to make a decision on the issue of racism that was a defining moment in my relationship to friends and to my stand against racism. Never did I hate racism so much as I did after this event took place in my life. I am white. Period. No questions asked. I am the epitomy of the white man . This includes pasty skin, preppy clothes, freckles, can t run or jump, love Spaghetti-O s, and have no problem wolfing down a block of cheddar cheese with a Dr. Pepper. My best friends, however, happen to be a pair of African-American brothers who seem to be just the opposite. Our simularities and friend relationships are based on humor. Humor that pokes fun at ourselves and where we never really have to worry about hurting the others feelings or even needing a come- back line. We crack our selves up. Although they still tease me about the cheese, I won t use the point about watermellon anymore. This is because I know that niether Ephraim nor Johan will eat watermellon in public. One can rarely ever catch these young men on the down side, so why would a steriotype inflict enough pain to cause the fruit and vegetable lovers to miss out on the joys of watermellon? Steriotypes hurt. Even for guys that can laugh at anything wrong with them, including self-professed stupidity. This is why Gates chose to write about the name incident. Someone realized this concept and put it in a book so that more people would have the chance to read it. Not to make racist people think twice, because more than likely, that won t happen, but to inform the people like me to look around and notice that what I m teasing about could actually be hurting even the greatest kidders. It took a mind altering event to get me to realize it because I never really applied all the information that I knew on the subject of racism to my friends at home, even though they joked about being the Black Guy, and called each other niggers. One evening I found myself hanging with two sets of black brothers and another black guy on the black side of town. It s a nice residential area, always clean, always quiet, and we stood outside of our town s own little version of Malcolm-X s house (the other black guy). As I showed off my newest car demo , a white Dodge Stealth, we laughed it up and talked about non-sense. Suddenly an old, beat up, red truck full of Skin Heads drove by, blasting country music and hollering obscenities. This made my friends mad but they let it slide as the truck drove off. We began to discuss these self-proclaimed Skin Heads and the terror they had been reaking in there own school as a gang, dressed in black jackets, sporting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo on the back. Suddenly the truck was back and parked on the red, brick road from us. In our silence the group of seven began to pile out of the truck and walk toward us. Jason, (our tall, lanky Malcom-X) I saw in the corner of my eye, began to get antsy, nervous, and hoppy, like he was getting ready to use his red belt in Karate. A movie scene began to play before my eyes as the larger one punched a dent in side of my Stealth s fender. Then the leader broke the silence, Too bad it s Jap Crap, huh? (refering to the Mitsibishi 300GT with the same body style). Johan, the philosopher of our group, let their laughter brood for a moment of glory then unleashed a brilliantly dry retaliation, It s a Dodge you ignorant fuck. We burst in tolaughter which made the leader cut to the
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