Reading Response #4
In the passage, “Shame”, written by Dick Gregory, Gregory discusses his experience of feeling shame as a child. Gregory was a poor, black child, but he didn’t feel that made him any different from the rest of his peers. However, this feeling of innocence was replaced by shame when his teacher pointed out to his classmates that he was poor, and living without a father. For the first time in his life, Gregory felt ashamed.
Gregory found motivation in despite the shame he felt while he was in class. Even though he was poor as a child, Gregory played drums, broke track records, and became a successful comedian. This source of inspiration came from his teacher embarrassing him in front of his crush, Helene Tucker. Tucker cried after the teacher’s comment, which made Gregory feel the shame that he did. The teacher and Helene made Gregory want to be a better person and achieve some of the things that he went on to achieve.
Dick Gregory teacher and Frederick Douglas’ mistress were similar in a few ways. They both started out as kind women. Gregory’s started off being nice to him; she let him clean the chalkboards, which really made him feel important. Douglas’ mistress, at first, was teaching him to read and write. The later was betrayed by the both of them. Gregory’s teacher embarrassed him in the front of the class. Douglas’ mistress stopped teaching him and became cold-hearted towards him.
Gregory’s shame started before the teacher’s comment. His true source of shame started as a young child living in poverty, growing up without a father. He felt shame when he went to the Worthy Boys Annual Christmas Dinner and wearing the clothes given by welfare. He knew by wearing the clothes, everyone would know that he was poor. He also felt shame when he had to ask the grocery store asking for rotten peaches. Going to the relief truck also brought about shame on Gregory.
As humans, we...