“I saw that what divided me from the world was not anything intrinsic to us but the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named us matter more than anything we could ever actually do.” (Coates 120).
Coates indicates that no matter how badly you want to ignore somebody and not let their words get to you, it eventually will get into your head. It doesn’t matter if you let it affect you on not this then shapes the person you become. Coates his whole life has lived in a world where “blacks” are looked down on, treated as close to nothing, and are always violent. Coates then realizes that everyone looks at him that way so he has to be extra careful with his words and actions because people may feel threatened.
Imagine living in a home where your parents are constantly telling you that you will never succeed, or that you are no good at school. You hear it so much that you begin believing it and because they expect nothing of you, you will give them nothing. Because they already have that image of you there is no point of you trying or excelling in anything, you have already let your parents down.
I completely agree with Coates, there has been times where I am guilty of doing that to myself. Where I tell myself I’m going to do bad on an essay or I’m going to fail a class, and slowly i start believing myself and sure enough i don’t do well and sadly i have failed a class. Once I have already have put the expectation in my head and accepted the fact, then I don’t try as hard as I should.