The Garden of Diversity: How “The Flowers” helped me understand my own experience. The words immortalized in Alice Walker’s short story “The Flowers” resonated with me in a profound manner. Myop’s adventure from the property that her family shares to the woods is one that she has embarked upon many times before. This time even though she doesn’t realize it, everything will be different. Walker’s character may not understand the consequences that come with the encounter with the lynched black man, the thought that crosses my mind while reading this is that although she has no idea of what awaits her in the future, of the cruelty and injustice that unfortunately runs rampant in today’s society, she can still find a place to be proud and hopeful of who she is.
What am I? Well, who am I? Many people consider us brown people Mexican, but that's only if I were born in Mexico, which I wasn't. Both of my parents were born in Mexico, and I was born in the United States, so I am considered American of Mexican descent. We are also classified as many others names including Hispanic, Latino, and Chicano.
“You talk so white, I would’ve never guessed you were actually black!” said everyone at my high school. “Is that your dad or just your mom’s boyfriend?” asked numerous of my classmates. Or my personal favorite: “what are you?” To answer this overly common and inherently rude question, I’m a first-generation biracial, meaning that I am a product of a direct interracial relationship.
Enhancing My Roots Being Mexican-American has been such a blessing to me. Growing up I would feel embarrassed to have brown skin and to my speak my first language, which is Spanish. I would feel jealous hearing the other kids speak English so well as I struggled more and was placed in English Language Development. I would detest to get pulled out of class and get asked trivial questions like “what is this?” when it was a simple book.
1. What is the title of your future memoir and why? (Remember don’t include your name!) - The title of my future memoir would be “First Generation American Rebel: How to Leave Your Parents Clueless.”
Growing up in a home where your identity is shaped by the culture and ideas of those around you makes it extremely difficult for a child to find their own way in the world. To truly become your own person without being weighed down by your race, sexuality, gender, or beliefs is an enormous task that sadly many of us never accomplish. In Daisy Hernandez’s memoir “A Cup of Water Under My Bed” she talks about growing up with a Cuban father and Colombian mother and how her family’s views on what’s right and what’s wrong heavily influenced her choices and how she had to fight or conform to find her way. In her book, Hernandez talks about how she had to learn, adapt, and fight against the “norms” of the times and the “norms” of her culture. As we analyze Hernandez book
Books opened my eyes to enthralling revelations at a young age. They gave me solace in my times of worry and melancholy. Especially where the lost protagonist overcame her obstacles and fought her fears. I could always relate to such struggles. I understood what it meant to feel diminutive and powerless.
I have lived in two different worlds. The duality of the immigrant experience is a battle that every first-generation child has to wage. As I conquered my language barrier, a whole new world full of traditions and customs opened up. Seeking acceptance from my peers, it was hard not to adopt their culture and ignore my own in the process. However, abandonment was not an option in a family with a strong cultural identity.
Children inherit traits from each of their parents—whether their eye color or their height— we all get something. I inherited the determination and wisdom they carry in addition to physical traits. My mother taught me to work hard, and that will change your view of the world. People will look down on you for looking different and being different; they will judge you due to your race and financial status, I remember being young and watching my mother work for hours on end, only taking short breaks throughout the day, and readily continuing her job when she got home. She did this because of stereotypes—particularly, the belief that immigrants are lazy.
Whatever the educated and often professionally successful person previously thought her position in society was, now she is challenged, as random white persons casually but powerfully degrade her. This moment is always insulting and even a relatively minor incident can have a significant impact. (Anderson 253) Anderson is simply restating, how a competent and successful individual will face discrimination if their race is different from the white-ruling class. He describes how anyone from a different race will be forced to self-evaluate their social status as an individual. His description of self-evaluation is similar to the time when I was in high school, every time that I felt I had finally, become equal to my peers and enjoyed the same
For a long time I believed cultural assimilation plagued non-native cultures in America. Names became Americanized and people left their native languages at home. It is easy to see how anyone could feel pressure to blend and adapt. Being in a new country and having to learn new things all at once can be overwhelming. Upon reading “The Chinese in All of Us” by Richard Ramirez, I learned that the blending of cultures is not forced.