Maya Angelou talks about her days working for an old white woman named Viola Cullinan. Maya worked for Mrs. Cullinan along with another servant named Ms. Glory. Ms. Glory was working for Mrs. Cullinan for about 20 years and she trained Maya by telling her the difference between the bread and dessert dishes and other domestic chores. One day Mrs. Cullinan called Maya the wrong name saying that it was to long and decided to change it to Mary. That infuriated Maya and even though Ms. Glory told her not to mind it so much, she still wanted to get revenge. Maya was trying her best to get fired but it wasn’t happening so one day Maya dropped Mrs. Cullinan’s fine china that she had brought with her from Virginia.
“It was a dangerous practice to call a negro anything that could be loosely construed as insulting because of the centuries of their having been called niggers, jigs, dinges, blackbirds, crows, boots, and spooks.” Maya describes how African Americans can get easily offended by being called out of their name. Maya really wanted to get Mrs. Cullinan back because in a way it took away her identity by replacing her name with Mary.
I think this story was funny in a way; I found it amusing how Maya called Mrs. Cullinan ugly and thought how she had gotten a husband to begin with. Mrs. Cullinan was wrong for calling Maya the wrong name. I would be offended just like Maya, but I guess since it was back in the days it was acceptable for white people to disrespect African Americans.