Free Preconceptions about Others and its Effects Essay Sample
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Discrimination along gender, race, and age among other biases is one of the most painful emotional events that can happen to anyone. In Maya Angelou’s “What’s Your Name, Girl?” Mrs. Cullinan treats her maids with utter disdain, a move that makes them furry about her conduct as their employer. This is evident from the way she chooses to change their names just for her convenience. She also supports one of her friends in calling her employees different names just because they consider the real names difficult to articulate. This can be attributed to the fact that the house cleaners are of a different gender, and a less reputed one for that matter. They also come from a poor socio-economic background, a reason that could probably prompt Mrs. Cullinans conduct. Since Margaret and Gloria are young, Mrs. Cullinan seem to take that advantage assuming that they will respect her decision just because she employs them and they are young. In fact, she calls her a little sweet thing.
As an 18-year-old Persian girl living in the US, I have gone through similar treatment from my Chinese geography teacher and fellow students. First, they all assume my name Mahsa Nassizadeh, is extremely difficult to pronounce, distinctly the second one, just because it is too long. This has made some of them pronounce it as Nazi. I feel so much in trouble because they fabricated a pronouncement could not be further from the Nazi rule during the time of Adolph Hitler. Could it be that their decision to convert my name to Nazi was influenced by the fanatical Nazi rule? Alternatively, just because I am a foreigner who has to agree with all they would choose to say? After all, there is no difficulty in learning the actual pronunciation like anybody else. This makes me a little bit irritated because I tend to perceive their decision as demeaning. This experience is similar to that of Angelo because no one seems to care what I feel about my name being altered for what I do not like at all.
My geography teacher at Lamar High School happens to be an American of Chinese origin and call me “pistachio.” He says that his decision to call me so was influenced by the fact that “pistachio” is among the leading exports from Iran. Since I come from Iran, he assumes that the name will be undisputedly okay for me. The teacher tends to take the action because he has a sizeable number of students in his class and, has no time to learn how my name is pronounced. Just as Maya Angelou reveals in “What’s Your Name, Girl?” Mrs. Cullinan agrees with one of her friends that the name Margaret is too long, and Mary would serve better. To make her point stronger, Cullinan calls Margaret “a sweet little thing” perhaps an indication that she despises her too much. This could be because she came from the black community and thus poor. Age is also another reason why Mrs. Cullinan assumes that Margaret is little. Since my English was not remarkably proficient at that time, my performance was not pleasant at all. I could not pass the geography exams, meaning that my teacher was not happy with me. This gave me a lower profile among other students implying that my teacher had less regard for me than he did for other students. Therefore, he assumed my real name and decided to identify me with a particular product that comes from my native home.
Pistachio is a small tree plant that is used for various dietary and medicinal values. My geography teacher describes my brain is as small as a Pistachio. This means that he considered my mental capacity to be exceedingly limited just because I could not do well in his class. In addition, the plant comes from my native land. I consider this a racial abuse because the teacher seemed to have assumed that my stupidity is linked to my race. This hindered my development because it affected my self-esteem negatively. His position as a teacher means that he was older than I was and, thus qualifies to address me as a junior, perhaps why he uses a derogatory language on me.
Similarly, the two house girls in Maya Angelou’s “What’s Your Name, Girl?” undergo the same, whereby their employer demeans them because of their race and social backgrounds. Angelou perceives Mrs. Cullinan and her friends to be classy women who would not respect anybody lower in rank. I also assume that my teacher treats me the way he does just because he is my tutor, and I cannot speak proper English. This is the reason behind his action to call me stupid jokingly assuming that I take the issue lightly. This makes me think that Americans are not careful when handling foreigners. Since they are considered a rich country, I tend to believe they would not bow to any subjection by another person perceived to be from a “poor” country. This makes me feel awkward and thus fear mingling with them freely despite the fact that they cannot hurt me physically.
I came to understand later that the same teacher was fired on grounds that he uttered foul words about a redheaded girl who reported him. In addition, the teacher had offended republicans in another class by saying something offensive. The two events made me confused further because the people who complained about the teacher were Americans, who had gone ahead to distort my name and called me Nazi. This makes me perceive Americans as people who apply double standards because they could not take time to pronounce my name correctly, a situation that made me mad.
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