The connection that I found between Patricia Williams’s essay, The Death of The Profane, and Maya Angelou’s Graduation is their struggle to be proud of their race. What I mean by struggle is the obstacles that they encounter every day simply because of their skin. Both of them, through lives challenges and experiences, begin to doubt themselves and the “worth” of the African American race. One example that Patricia Williams encountered during her struggle was when she was trying to purchase a Christmas present for her mother and was not allowed inside the store because of the color of her skin.
“I was enraged,” she said. She was so angered by this that she knew she had to voice her opinion. She typed up what had happened to her on a big poster and stuck in the window of the store. She did this to show the public what kind of mockery and injustices some of the stores in town are making of African Americans. (Williams; pg. 102) After she made the poster she went on and tried to inspire a lot of people in trying to do good for their race. She made a lot of motivating speeches that had great effects of African Americans.
An example of the degradation that African Americans faced in America that Maya Angelou encountered was at her own graduation.A man named. Mr. Donleavy was in the middle of his speech when he started deciding what race got what heroes.
” .. what school official in the white-goddom of Little Rock had the right to decide that those two men (Owens and Brown Bomber) must be our heroes? ” said Maya. She thought this was just outrageous. To her heroes are made up on your own not by authorities designating them as heroes.
Another struggle that Williams came across was what she mentioned in her speech.”Blacks, deprived of jobs based on the color of our skin, are now told that we ought to find it demeaning to be hired, based on the color of our skin (Williams; pg. 04). ” This is a very hard struggle to deal with because a lot of families need the money but don”t want such a job that’s so demeaning on them, but due to their circumstances they have to take it to survive. At graduation Maya faced many other obstacles and wrong doings.It seemed that there were a lot of bad situations happening that day that were demeaning to African Americans. At first, it seemed that it was affecting Maya in a negative way.
She started to say cruel things about her own race. “It was awful to be a Negro . we should be dead .. (Angelou; pg38).
” It was as if she was being brain washed.Then luckily the valedictorian, Henry Reed made a very inspirational speech about African Americans and brought Maya and the rest of the graduation class to their consciousness. I think this was a very big struggle because now she had to fight against her inner self.She had to convince herself to block out all of the negative thing being said about African Americans and focus on the positive things.
In conclusion both Patricia Williams and Maya Angelou’s connection was their struggles in overcoming the obstacles of racism and their inner will to reach their goals. They both encountered either physical or mental obstacles.