The foundation and development of a human being stems from the individual’s position within his/her life (for instance, his/her opinion, stance, about oneself in regards to his/her own expectations) and within his/her communities as a member of a household, a race or even as a gender. The key factor of this notion, take in consideration the vast knowledge a person can evaluate against their own understanding. A person emerge into the world as a blank slate that unconsciously and continuously devouring and weaving in stories told in voices that evokes correlation identification with an image created by a mother, father, brothers, sister, aunt, uncle, cousins, grandma, grandpa, and even nicknamed strangers into their root and skin. An open-minded
She begins the essay by relating the story of how an Irishman serenaded her on a bus with a Spanish song because of her Puerto Rican appearance. Cofer then comments on the double-edged nature of the stereotypes her appearance elicits. “This is sometimes a very good thing—it may win you that extra minute of someone’s attention. But with some people, the same things can make you an island—not so much a tropical paradise as an Alcatraz, a place nobody wants to visit” (547). In this simile, Cofer compares the isolation that someone feels when others stereotype him/her to the confinement of the prison island of Alcatraz. Moreover, she reveals that stereotypes mark people as undesirable and separate them from the rest of society, thus impeding their assimilation. Cofer uses another simile when she details her experience with an American boy at her first formal dance: “ … [He] said in a resentful tone: ‘I thought you Latin girls were supposed to mature early’—my first instance of being thought of as a fruit or vegetable—I was supposed to ripen, not just grow into womanhood like other girls” (549). In this simile, Cofer shows how those who stereotype Latino women compare them to fruits and vegetables because both are supposed to mature rapidly. However, she denounces this comparison by emphasizing that it dehumanizes Latino women and reduces them to the status of mere plants while creating a
The immigrants entering the United States throughout its history have always had a profound effect on American culture. However, the identity of immigrant groups has been fundamentally challenged and shaped as they attempt to integrate into U.S. society. The influx of Mexicans into the United States has become a controversial political issue that necessitates a comprehensive understanding of their cultural themes and sense of identity. The film Mi Familia (or My Family) covers the journey and experiences of one Mexican-American (or “Chicano”) family from Mexico as they start a new life in the United States. Throughout the course of the film, the same essential conflicts and themes that epitomize Chicano identity in other works of literature
In the texts, "In Response to Executive Order 9066" by Dwight Okita and "Mericans" by Sandra Cisneros, a topic of American identity and perception of identity is shared. Both texts take a brief look at the lives, characteristics, and feelings of young girls living a bicultural life. In Cisnero's story, the girl seems caught between her two different cultures, and she struggles to connect with her Mexican heritage. In Okita's poem, the girl has a clear sense of her identity and place as an American. Culture is experienced and interpreted differently by each individual and each group of people. The expression of themes and topic in "In Response to Executive Order 9066" and "Mericans" shows that there is no one way or right way to be American or appreciate American culture.
Mary Matsuda Gruenewald tells her tale of what life was like for her family when they were sent to internment camps in her memoir “Looking like the Enemy.” The book starts when Gruenewald is sixteen years old and her family just got news that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japan. After the bombing Gruenewald and her family life changed, they were forced to leave their home and go to internment camps meant for Japanese Americans. During the time Gruenewald was in imprisonment she dealt with the struggle for survival both physical and mental. This affected Gruenewald great that she would say to herself “Am I Japanese? Or am I American?” The internment camps that Gruenewald was placed and like most Japanese Americans were huge camps surrounded
This essay compares “In response to executive order 9066” (poem) by Dwight Okita to “Mericans” (short story) by Sandra Cisneros. Specifically, the essay explores the central theme of American identity in the two literary works. The “Mericans” is about a little girl who has a story about the new world and the old world. In this case, the new world is America. The young girl is prevented from entering the church where her grandmother has prayers. As a person from the old world, the young girl is not allowed to play with boys from the new world. On the other hand, “in response to executive order” by Dwight Okita is about Americans of Japanese origins that were supposed to report to relocation
The boy’s description of the Japanese prisoners shows that he’s assimilated the prevalent racist beliefs about Japanese people. Using racially insensitive language, the boy expresses the stereotype that “all Asian people look alike.” Additionally, their perceived “inscrutability” was the exact reason why the U.S. government locked up innocent Japanese Americans citizens in the first place.
Assimilation means to adapt into a new culture and become a part of them. “People of different backgrounds and beliefs undergo assimilation when, through living together, they come to see themselves as part of a larger community.” The reason why you see assimilation often in Chicano/a Literature is because many Mexicans try to blend into the American culture. Many Chicanos write stories about what they have lived through the years or stories they have heard from their love ones growing up. Some have had first-hand experience of assimilating into the American culture by trying to blend in and become accepted that they start to lose or deny a part of their identities. In the story of “Aria”, by Richard Rodriguez, being Mexican American was a challenge for him in which he struggled with having two identities. Since he spoke Spanish in an American society,
Written works about American Identity are a very common theme amongst writers, including poet Dwight Okita and short-story writer Sandra Cisneros. Dwight Okita is famous for her poem “In Response to Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers,” in which the theme of American identity is portrayed through a 14-year-old girl. In a similar way, Sandra Cisneros’s short story is told by a young girl of Mexican heritage who prefers American culture—in sharp contrast to her deep-rooted Mexican grandmother. Although the overall theme of the two texts is “American Identity,” both Okita's poem and Cisneros's short story delve deeper and portray that cultural heritage and physical appearances do not determine what it
This paragraph from Kesaya Noda’s autobiographical essay “Growing Up Asian in America” represents the conflict that the author feels between her Japanese ethnicity, and her American nationality. The tension she describes in the opening pages of her essay is between what she looks like and is judged to be (a Japanese woman who faces racial stereotypes) versus what she feels like and understands (life as a United States citizen). This passage signals her connection to Japan; and highlights her American upbringing.
Culture is an essential part of a community’s identity, because it links individuals to a collective bond. The Americas have always contained a vast variety of cultural communities, especially in the United States. The US is known for being one of the most diverse nations in the world, housing hundreds of different cultures. Mexican-Americans display a strong sense of a cultural background, which falls as a subset of the bigger Latino culture that links all Latinos. Oral history is a major aspect on the Mexican culture, which contributes to the truth of how history in the United States actually happened. Many stories embody the cultural aspects of Mexican-Americans and their struggles with living in a discriminatory society. Stories like With
In Thomas King’s short story, “Borders”, he writes about the Canada-America border. Within the short story, the main character refuses to identify her citizenship even though she is from Blackfoot. Even though the story is being told through the young boy’s point of view, the main issue focuses on another character, the mother. When approached by guards on the border, the mother insists that she is a Blackfoot, which causes issues because her son is a minor and must stay on the Canadian side of the border.
Writer Sherman Alexie has a knack of intertwining his own problematic biographical experience with his unique stories and no more than “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” demonstrates that. Alexie laced a story about an Indian man living in Spokane who reflects back on his struggles in life from a previous relationship, alcoholism, racism and even the isolation he’s dealt with by living off the reservation. Alexie has the ability to use symbolism throughout his tale by associating the title’s infamy of two different ethnic characters and interlinking it with the narrator experience between trying to fit into a more society apart from his own cultural background. However, within the words themselves, Alexie has created themes that surround despair around his character however he illuminates on resilience and alcoholism throughout this tale.
Discrimination has plagued the world since the beginning of time and continues to happen today. People can be discriminated against simply for looking different or following different customs. It has been implemented by governments throughout history, but it has also been practiced individually. “In Response to Executive Order 9066” and “Legal alien” are two poems that discuss the topic of discrimination.
Being mixed race in a mono-racial society can be quite difficult. We can visualize this through the experiences of Ariana Miyamoto; someone who was born to a Japanese mother and an African-American father. During Miss Universe 2016, Ms. Miyamoto was chosen to represent her country of origin, Japan, but was quickly criticized by many because her appearance did not fit the standard image of a Japanese woman. This is definitely one of the complexities of expressing nationalism in beauty pageants because you’re expected to embody your country on stage, and in front of the world, in every possible way and failing to do so can cause outsiders and (even your own people) question your authenticity and ability to represent your country with dignity.