The Fourth of July by Audre Lorde
The Lorde family dealt with racism by ignoring it because it was so common that there was no point for them to try and fight it. They were pretty much surrounded by white people making it quite impossible to revolt against this racism. However, it was hard for Audre to ignore it. She is young at this point and does not understand that that’s how things were back then.
Lorde disliked the Fourth of July as a child because she experienced racism on that day, which is very ironic because that day is Independence Day; a day of liberty. She dislikes it as an adult because it brings back memories of the past and because people make a big deal out of it as a holiday but do not seem to actually understand and practice what the holiday really stands for.
The Lorde family maintains silent about racism because they know that speaking about it will do nothing. Lorde’s parents do not even bring it up in conversation or even make it a big deal. They do this in order to show their daughters to know that things are supposed to be the way they are, in a way to get their daughters “used to” things like these because they are bound to happen. This enables the racism they experience because by not speaking up about it they are somewhat allowing it to happen to them.
Some words that helped express Lorde’s outrage toward the racism her and her families experienced were: agonizing, hate, travesty, indignant, outraged, injustice, anti-American, fury, and angry. There were also some parts in the essay where she repeated the word ‘white.’ Lorde’s choice of words contribute to her message by showing the feelings and effects that racism can have on people.
Throughout her essay, Lorde maintains a very angry tone. “I viewed Julys through… this country.” (pg 316). In this paragraph and others Lorde expresses her anger and hatred toward the fourth of July and what “such a celebration was for black people.”
There is definitely irony in the title of Lorde’s essay. The Fourth of July is Independence day, a day that is well known by Americans as a day of liberty and freedom. BUT Lorde did not see this “liberty and freedom” on her visit to the country’s capital. I believe it is an appropriate title for her essay because it emphasizes her feelings toward the holiday and it emphasizes the irony between the holiday and her experience.
Toni Morrison, When Language Dies The significance that Morrison gives her story is that we are in charge of keeping language alive. Humans have the ability to use language in creative ways and it is our choice whether we keep it alive or not.
By “statist language” Morrison refers to language with no consequences. Language that is dead, language that has no response or effect, language that is boring or restricted because of fear of the reply or result, language without meaning. Such language is abhorrent to her because that is not the way language should be used. Language should be used to express ideas and thoughts.
According to Morrison, the ones responsible for “looting of language” are the state and power merchants.
The story of the Tower of Babel is about a tower that collapsed because of the use of different languages caused the people to not understand each other causing them to build the tower the wrong way. Morrison sees single language as a bad alternative because it will still not help people understand each other.
“Its force, its felicity is in its reach toward the ineffable.” What Morrison means by this statement is that no matter how language is used, it will never actually portray life’s events, in this case slavery, genocide,… etc.
The story made by the questions asked by the young people signifies that the old woman’s story matters. The young people ask her for her life stories about slavery and they ask her to at least make them up. What she feels they have done together is connected through language.
People present themselves in different ways, at different times, with different people; all based on how they feel they should present themselves. I represent myself in different ways as well but the majority of the time I present myself as a chill, easy to talk to person. This seems to be somewhat of a habit for me, although I do realize that I shouldn’t present myself in this way so much. When people see you as a chill, easy to talk to person they somehow feel as if they can get away with a lot when dealing with you. For the most part this is not necessarily true.
I work at a gym in which I pretty much see the same people every day. I presented myself to these people as chill, friendly and easy to talk to and it is now that I realize that maybe I shouldn’t have. Because the patrons see me this way, they think that I will let them get away with things they shouldn’t be doing, like working out without signing in or working out with jeans on (messes up the upholstery). Another situation where I represented myself as a chill, friendly person was in my classes. I did this in order to make friends, the common reason. However I feel that I shouldn’t have presented myself this way in this situation either. It seems that my classmates respect me less and feel comfortable enough to ask if they can copy my homework. I feel that in both of these situations I could have presented myself in a better more respectable manner.
Achieving racial equality does not so much depend on thinking differently as Apple Computer Company sees it. Martin Luther King Jr. did not just think different but he used his thoughts and turned them into actions. Many people think different things and in different ways but it comes down to the actions people take which define the quality of their character and the quality of their actions.
However, MLK did think differently in some ways. He had the ability to set a goal and achieve it. I guess this is what Apple means by “think differently”. MLK knew what was going on during his time wasn’t fair or right so he decided to act upon it. I suppose Apple feels that other companies aren’t fair or right so they feel that one should think differently and switch to an Apple product. Achieving racial equality depends on “thinking differently” only to a certain extent. It starts with thinking differently but it ends with choosing and acting differently.