Language is really colorful, and people put the colors into language. We can put some bright colors to words when we are happy, or dark colors to express that we are not in a good mood. We give them their own power, and in the article “A Question of Language” by Gloria Naylor, the author shows us her idea about that power of words. Words themselves are harmless; the problem comes from the way people want to use them.
Naylor starts her text by mentioning about her first time hearing the word “nigger”. It was in her third-grade class, when she was passing down the math test to a little boy in back of her. Once again, that boy received a much lower grade than hers, so he grasped his paper hastily from her as he let out that word. At that time, Naylor didn’t know exactly the meaning of the word and didn't notice the word "nigger" even though there had been dozens of times that she heard it. However, based on the boy’s expression and the way he used it, in the humiliating way, she still could realize that it was not a good word to be applied to her. It had a strong effect on her, caught all of her attention.
In fact, the author had heard the word several times before that incident happened. Gloria Naylor is an African-American who was born in New York. She came from a large household with so many people such as her family, grandparents, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins as well as their friends. “It was a bustling and open house with assorted neighbors and tenants popping in and out to exchange bits of gossip, pick up an old quarrel or referee the ongoing checkers game in which my grandmother cheated shamelessly”, she writes. The house where she lived was a crowded and noisy place with all kinds of elements. They considered that nothing is harmful for children’s ears except sexual misconduct and death, and the word “nigger” was used in her childhood, but its meaning was appear totally in a different way. Therefore, same as most of the children, she learned the...
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