I thought Gate's article was really interesting and something that I think frequently about. When I started my degree I focused all of my studies on African-American Literature and was frequently given bizarre looks because, frankly, I was always the only white girl in the class. I even got in a fight with a professor once because of it. She was black and I was a young, white, freshman taking her class on society and racism. I was well read and when it came time to write the papers, I knew I would do extremely well. That professor gave me a C- on that paper and when I asked why, knowing it wasn't a fair grade, she said she thought it was only fair to grade me against myself rather than the rest of the class since I was the only one, "like me" in there.
I had never experienced racism personally until that moment. And even after I explained it to her superior she still called me, "the little white girl." Though I may not have known the name, I know now that this professor could not remove herself from her terministic screen. On page 5 of the article, Gate says, "race, in these usages pretends to be an objective term of classification, when in fact it is a dangerous trope." I believe any time we look at situations only through the eyes of whatever our racial stereotype is we are committing a small hate crime due to the fact that we are saying, in some sense, this is how I know things and its hard to change it so I simply won't. Also, by identifying as something we are immediately identifying as not something else. With my professor saying she was going to grade me against myself, she put me in another category, and because she parted me from everyone else she also parted everyone else from me. Not only did I have to be graded by her apparent standard for myself but no one else would be graded at the standard she had set either. And while keeping me separated from the rest of the class, they became offended because felt as if she was saying to them that they couldn't be held to my standard which was far from true. Race is an enormous terministic screen that I'm not sure we can ever reconcile, but I think it's important we try to recognize the danger that Gate's talks about and fear away from it.