Reading Response Obama-Chris Gjoka

On pages 80-81 Obama is reflecting on his past and how he was treated in his daily life and the experiences that come up. He experienced and heard a lot of racism from people that he come across. Most of his daily life he would come across someone how would say some racist remarked to him and he did not take well most of the time like when he punched a white kid when they where in the seventh grade because he cold him a coon. As he grows up, he experienced more direct forms of racism no matter where he want like when he was at a tennis tournament or when he was at his own apartment building or even in school from the assistant basketball coach. Obama was talking about all this with his friend Ray and how he felt about it but also how they were saying that not all white people are racist and them reforming to Obama’s grandparents were cool.

(pg80) “The tennis pro who told me during a tournament that I shouldn’t touch the schedule of matches pinned up to the bulletin board because my color might rub off; his thin-lipped, red-faced smile-“Can’t you take a joke?”-when I threatened to report him. The older woman in my grandparent’s apartment building who became agitated when I got on the elevator behind her and ran out to tell the manager that I was following her; her refusal to apologize when she was told that I lived in the building. Our assistant basketball coach a young wiry man from New York with a nice jumper, who, after a pick-up game with some talkative black man, had muttered within earshot of me and three of my team-mates that we shouldn’t have lost to a bunch of niggers; and who, when I told him-with a fury that surprised even me- to shut up, had calmly explained the apparently obvious fact that “there are black people, and there are niggers. Those guys were niggers”

The significance of this quote is to show how he was treated when he was younger and how people’s reactions when there was a black person in front of them or near them. Obama is looking back on how he was treated no matter where he was, he was treated with prejudice and disrespect just for being there. Like when he was going to the elevator the instant reaction of the women in the elevator was this person is bad and dangers even though he was doing nothing but going to see his grandparents. At that time, it was common to see blatant racist everywhere people went no matter how you looked or what your where doing people would say rude things and do even worst to then if they had the chance. Obama relayed how he feels when he finally had enough and snaped at the assistant coach when he made a racist remark about black people on the basketball team,

Obama started to fully realis that the world that he lives in is not a fear world where he will encounter racist and bigots who will try to give him grief of not reason besides having a different skin color then them. He also learns that he doesn’t have to take what there saying siting down and he can defend himself and others around him. He also is trying to figure out who he is and how he wants to choose a way to properly respond to all that is going on and how that it will define him. Obama was reflecting on what his mother would think but also what his grandparents and how he felt about them and how not all white people are racist. He also was contemplating if what he decides to do will have any repercussions or a price that he will have to pay later for what he does now.

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