Louis Gates In The Kitchen Analysis

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In the Kitchen Literary Analysis The literary piece “In the Kitchen”, written by Louis Gates Jr., is an examination of African-American racial identity during the 1960’s, when Gates was a child. The author tells the reader about the hair salon his mother ran out of their kitchen, and consequently focuses his piece around hair. While reading, the audience may find themselves wondering; why is hair a central theme in this essay? Gates uses the distinction between white hair and African-American hair as a metaphor to describe his experience of the racial unrest that was present in the 1960’s. In “In the Kitchen”, Gates shows the reader the ways the African-American community would try to straighten their hair to make it look more like ‘good’ white hair in order to suppress their background and fit better into society. On page 45, Gates explains how, when he was a child, he “...would have done anything to have straight hair-and I used to try everything to make it straight...”. This quote demonstrates how Gates felt he needed…show more content…
Evidence of this claim can be seen on page 43, when the author is reflecting upon his childhood and he states frankly that, “‘Bad’ hair was kinky” (Gates). This quote clearly describes how kinky African-American hair was considered ‘bad’ by the African-American community. Another supporting quote can also be seen on page 43 when Gates writes, “Even in the late sixties, at the height of Black Power, most people could not bring themselves to say ‘good’ for ‘bad’ and ‘bad’ for ‘good’’. In this quote, Gates explains how even when the civil rights movement was in full swing, African-Americans still had difficulty calling their own hair ‘good’. They had trouble accepting that African hair could be considered ‘good’ like white

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