What's in a Name - Henry Louis Gates Jr

Published: 2021-06-29 07:03:07
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Category: English

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What's in a Name?
In "What's in a Name" by Henry Louis Gates Jr., we are told of an event that occurred when Gates was a child. It was during the Civil Rights Movement period; his family was, for that time, an affluent black family. They were able to go into places which other black families could not. His family was also fortunate enough to always have new clothes and shoes. Even with their fortune, Gates could tell that his father was looked at differently by white people and in a way could sense resentment. He dismissed all of this until the day a man named Mr. Wilson crossed paths with them. Mr. Wilson greeted his father, not by his name but by the name "George" - which at the time was a derogatory name used for black people-. Gates' father did not correct the man and simply continued walking. Gates did not understand why his father did not speak up and correct Mr. Wilson. When Gates asked his Mother what this all meant, she responded with "it's just one of those things". For that time period the decision Gates' father made was probably the best, the consequences could have resulted in many negative ways.
Even now, though we have come a long way, we are faced with racism, sexism, ageism among many others. Like Gates' father I too have been in a situation where I could have stood up for myself and others but chose not to, fearing the consequences. The decision I made that day would not be the same one I would make today.

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