Dick Gregory's Shame

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Shame is defined as “The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another”. Dick Gregory’s “shame” demonstrates internal and external humiliation undergone in early childhood, displaying the irony of experiencing shame in school instead of home. Self-respect, economic class, distinction, and moral values impacted how dick was portrayed, and isolated on occasions from the upper society in his classroom. Later on his luminous essay he explains how external shame notably caused by his teacher becomes internal shame by meeting a wino. Self-respect is defined as “pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity”. Richard cherishes…show more content…
Gregory states “Everybody knew what a worthy boy was” (Gregory 585). Described by society a worthy boy is someone who does not need to be on relief; someone who has a father; and specially someone who knows how to read, write, and do arithmetic. However, Richard didn’t feel worthy because society provided him with his needs and felt shame. He felt shame on wearing the mackinaw that welfare gave to 3,000 children; all were the same color, not distinction, everyone could know he was on welfare and caused him shame. His external shame was so abundant he threw away the mackinaw risking getting beat by his mother. Richard felt shame for asking others for help “There was shame in running over to Mister Ben’s at the end of the day and asking for his rotten peaches, shame in asking Mrs. Simmons for a spoonful of sugar, there was shame in running out to meet the relief truck” (Gregory 585). Richard felt shame in getting societies garbage and is motivated to succeed mainly for Helene. He broke track records in high school and…show more content…
Gregory begins to describe the scenario with him hustling all-day, and having goo-gobs of money. He goes into a restaurant and orders “A bowl of chili for 5 cents, and a cheeseburger for fifteen cents, and a Pepsi for five cents” (Gregory 586). Richard felt proud of his hard work and he compensated by buying lunch and telling the price of every item. Afterwards, a wino comes in the restaurant and orders twenty-six cents of food. Richard does not hesitate to specify the items the wino orders because he knows the wino won’t be able to pay his due with money. The wino enjoys his food and at the time of paying he says “don’t have no money” (Gregory 586). Mr. Williams the owner of the restaurant who trusted the wino gets angry and beats him up. Richard stares at the wino and does nothing; believing he is superior to the wino because he is able to pay his food. The goo-gobs of money he has in his pocket makes him feel powerful. This experience shaped Richard to become the man he is today. All the external shame inflicted by the teacher disappeared when he felt internal shame for not helping by stopping Mr. Williams when he was hurting

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