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READING RESPONSE PAGES 291-319

Page 294
#2 & #4
Why does the boy sitting behind Naylor call her a nigger? Why is she confused by this name-
calling? Why does Naylor disagree with the notion that the use of the word nigger within her
community was an internalization of racism?
The boy who sat behind Gloria Naylor in her third grade math class called her a nigger to
humiliate her, even though she had proven she was better than him in more ways than one. He
had called her that word to be mean because she was showing off that she had gotten a better
score than him on the math test. In that way she proved to be more educated than him, she also
proved to be a better person than him by not calling him mean names, words, or phrases back.
Gloria was confused by this word, nigger, because she had never really heard it before. She had
heard it, but never heard it in such a context as the young boy was presenting it in. She had only
listened to that word within her community, where it was not used as a racist term, or an
internalization of racism, but instead the word was rendered impotent. In her neighborhood,
it was just a slang, term friends called each other, or used when they spoke about their brothers,
husbands, neighbors, groups, etc. That is why she was puzzled when the word came from the
little boy, at her family gatherings young white males never used the word nigger for little black
girls, it was not that she had never heard it before, because she had, just never in that context,
from such a person. Naylor disagreed with the notion that the use of that word within her
community was an internalization of racism, because it was never used to degrade other humans
as it was used for when white people said it. It was usually friendly term or a funny term, not one
that had the power to make someone feel bad or mad, about themselves or others. For me, it
helps to think of the word stupid. When I was little I did not know what stupid meant, it was just
a funny name-calling word that me and my siblings and friends could use against each other in
situations where we wanted to be pretend-mean to one another. But once I got older I began to
realize that it is a term that has a very high derogatory potential. It can always be taken seriously
and might really hurt someones self-esteem or make them lose the respect they did/could have
for you. It is a word that many dwell on once they have been called it and maybe even destroy
them emotionally. Name calling, no matter if it is meant to be funny or taken seriously, can
sometimes hurt people in extreme ways, and that is what I, like the young boy, failed to
understand at a young age.


Page 300
#6
Zeisler notes that the writer of an article in the New York Times concluded that the use of the
word bitch was no big deal, that through wide use it has been rendered less offensive than it
once was. Why does Zeisler disagree with that assessment?
Andi Zeisler refers to an article written in the New York Times that says the word bitch is
becoming increasingly no big deal. Andi disagrees with this, it think, for many reasons. The
first she says, is that by saying that its not a big deal is just another way to denigrate woman, to
make them less important, to show others they have no value. By saying that it is totally okay to
call someone a bitch, just lets people degrade women without being persecuted for it.
She is a bitch!
You cannot say that, it is rude and degrading!
No, it is okay to say that now, it is not offensive anymore
That doesnt change how you feel about her, and how you made her feel
You are absolutely right, but I can still say it, because most people think it is no big deal.
Another reason Zeisler disagrees with that statement is because, if the person you are calling a
bitch, thinks the word still has value and is a big deal, then not everyone thinks it is not a big
deal. Therefore, there will always be someone who thinks that calling someone a bitch is a big
deal, and that means it can never be not a big deal if someone thinks it is. Kind of confusing, but
the point is, do not call someone a bitch unless they and everyone around them is okay with that
type of language.
Page 304
#4
What purposes would be served by the creation of the label prick-flick, as far as Steinem is
concerned? Do you think shes serious about the need for such a term, or do you think shes
being ironic?
Gloria Steinem say that a new movie label of prick flick should be created to mean the
opposite of chick flick because it just isnt fair to determine some movies by giving them a
nickname and not doing the same for other movies. Doing so would show men how many
women feel about the types of movies they like being degraded with semi-derogatory language.
It would also help us all to understand what sort of movie we are about to buy, rent, watch
whatever the case may be. We all know what type of movie one is going to be when someone
says chick-flick, so with new label we give to types of movies where woman are the only
animals on earth that seek out and even enjoy their own pain glamorous versions of
prostitution, violence against women, gory war films, and movies where the hero would
rather die than be rescued. I think her level of seriousness could go either way. She may not
really mean for people to take up the new name of prick-flick but it could always catch on. On
the other hand, she might be being totally serious in hopes that people will see that our society is
constantly finding ways to hurt women, even if women themselves dont see that little things like
the nickname of a movie is destroying their reputation. I myself never thought of chick-flicks as
something that could be used against women, but when I really think about it, it is just giving
men another reason to make fun of how sensitive and girly we all are. Why is that a bad thing
and being unemotional and manly is not? Men need to see that we, women, can also make fun
of them for qualities we find somewhat unattractive, we can start by giving their movies a
nickname that might make them regret telling us what the plot is for fear we will say, oh it is
one of your prick-flicks again huh? So it think Gloria could be giving the idea an ironic feel or
she could just as well be not doing so, whatever the case, I personally think I just might start
saying prick-flick, if for no other reason than to see mens reactions, but also in the name of
equal treatment for women and their right to watch what they want without being made fun of.

Page 312
#2
Staples essay was first published in Ms. Magazine, a publication that was very influential for
young women, particularly in the beginning of the womens movement. Why is Staples essay
appropriate for that magazine?
Brent Staples essay is very appropriate for the magazine titled Ms. because he talks about
how when he, a black man, is walking at night woman tend to be afraid for their lives. He is
helping to show that the myth of all African American men being rapist, killers, stalkers, or
thieves is widely overexpressed. Having his message, in an article that young women who might
often be walking home from work or school late by themselves, is the beginning of ideas that
convey to not be so afraid of black men, you could be missing out on a very wonderful
friend/relationship with such a person that you fear. The essay being in that magazine is not only
helping young women to not be afraid, but also helping black men to not be so quickly racially
profiled for something they arent. It is helping them tell people to not be afraid, to not be
worried, to trust just a little more, is that too much to ask? Put yourself in their shoes, they are
just walking home from school or work or from visiting their relatives just as you could be, but
no one is worried that they are going to get mugged by a little white woman. But what if that was
the stereotype, everyone thinks they know the majority of crime is due to white woman, who
walk around at night in their high heels with purses slung over their shoulders, the mental picture
of thousands of mug shots flash in your head when you see one strolling down a deserted ally at
11 oclock at night. You are instantly afraid and begin walking quicker and quicker until you
finally decide to just cross in the street I hopes you can lose her, but you keep 911 on ready
speed-dial just in case. Sounds ridiculous right? Well to many black men including Brent, that is
the reality, they cannot just take a walk downtown without feeling mothers stares as they pull
their children closer to them and guide them away from the young man. This is why having such
an article in such a magazine is crucial to the advancement of the declension of racial profiling.


Page 317
#1
Why do you think Lordes family dealt with racism by ignoring it? How is Lorde different?
Audre Lordes family dealt with racism calmly, they did not want to make a scene, they
want all things to be right for them and their family in the country but they are not willing to
fight for it, for whatever reason, be it fear, anger, hopelessness, or weakness. But Adure on the
other hand is a fighter, she wanted to take her troubles to The President of The United States to
have, he, himself resolve the issue at hand, racism. She was not about to let her trip be for
nothing, she knew that she had learned many things on that adventure, not only about the history
of the capitol and about past congressional leaders, but also about how everything white could
affect her so much. Seeing the white ice cream she couldnt have to white pavement she walked
on to the white people who treated her differently, made her so angry and unlike her parents she
was not going to hold the anger inside and express it only as discontent and sadness, she wanted
to show the anger as it was, as anger. I think that her family might have dealt with the racism by
ignoring it, because being older than her, they had seen their fair share of racism, and maybe
even at one point been daring like Audre and stood up for what they felt was right or wrong and
could have gotten punished for it because they were black. If something like that had happened,
they might feel like trying to stand up for themselves or defy the law would be a waste of time,
energy, resources and that they dont want to be punished for something so small as not being
allowed to sit in an ice cream parlor. Either way, I think Audre was a brave little girl and she
seems like someone who would not stop fighting for her beliefs no matter if they put her in
prison or took away her family, she would never stop trying to make things right, despite her
familys views or ideals.

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