Warriors Don't Cry

by Melba Pattillo Beals

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Student Question

What did Grandma Inda mean by "dignity is a state of mind, just like freedom" on page 194 of Warriors Don't Cry?

Expert Answers

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What she means by this is that you do not get dignity or freedom from how others treat you or from what things you have.  Instead, we get our dignity from our own minds -- we have dignity and freedom when we think we have them.

For the most part, I agree with them.  I think that we can have dignity and freedom in any circumstances just as long as we feel dignified and free.  Even if others treat us badly, if we do not show that they have defeated us, we still have dignity.  If we have a life inside our minds, we have freedom even if we are oppressed.

Of course, circumstances make it harder or easier to feel these things, but ultimately they are a state of mind.

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