Assata Shakur Response Paper
Submitted By austin191
Assata Shakur has the most direct commentary out of all of the activists that we have
discussed. One can sense her urgency for the unity of black people and how her past experiences
shaped her into the person she is today. In Assata: An Autobiography, some of her most
intriguing comments were the comments about self-hatred in the black community. She is
adamant about addressing and fixing the self hate among black people. However, though
attempts have been made by organizations such as the BPP, activists like Malcolm X, and an
array of others to spread African American pride, the self-hate and jokes continue even today.
Shakur discusses and describes the hatred that blacks have within by mentioning the
tendency for blacks to insult other blacks for having features or characteristics that white people
have decided are unattractive or unacceptable.1 After reading that part, I began to wonder about
how different America actually is today? I connected to the part in which she mentions African
Americans going to the beach and complaining about being “too black already.”2 Growing up in
Cleveland, many of the black teens, myself included, complained about being in the sun for too
long because we didn’t want to become “too black.” My family actually made jokes about me
becoming too dark after I spent a summer at camp. Besides making jokes about color, many
black people insulted each other, most of the time in jest, about their lips and having “nappy”
hair. Even though these things were said comically, the fact that calling someone dark or saying
1 Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography (Lawrence Hill Books: Chicago), 2001, 30-32.
2 Ibid, 25.
they have big lips is deemed an insult, shows there are still stigmas today. Furthermore, the fact
that Shakur wrote this book over twenty years ago and...