Summary Of Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror

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During the 19th century, America promised land and opportunities for all. Though some groups of individuals left their homes willingly in order to take advantage of what America had to offer, others were forced to flee due to inhabitable conditions in their homelands. Both Chinese and Irish immigrants, however, were often disappointed with their treatment upon arrival in America. The Anglo-Saxons that first inhabited America viewed immigrants as uncivilized and quickly declared their superiority, forcing immigrants to work for them. They created laws that prevented groups from accessing similar privileges as them and racialized these groups based on their cultures and languages. In his book A Different Mirror, Ronald Takaki explains how racial…show more content…
Though the majority of Irish women were illiterate, their daughters were able to receive education, and with proper education, young Irish women could enter “white collar employment as secretaries, nurses and teachers” (Takaki 151). By doing so, these women were able to rise up in the ranks of society. Eventually, more Irish were able to attend college, which allowed them to assimilate into the Anglo-Saxon community. The Irish broke the racial formation primarily because of their ability to access education. However, the fact that “the Irish possessed the suffrage,” meaning that they could vote, made this process much more smooth for them (Takaki 152). The Chinese “were barred from naturalized citizenship,” but because they viewed education as a path to achieving a higher rank in society, they sent their children to “public schools, where they said the Pledge of Allegiance…and learned about American culture” (Takaki 205). Despite their attempt to break the racial formation, the Chinese remained racialized, primarily because of the different color of their skin. Access to education ultimately enabled both the Irish and Chinese to challenge the racial formation constructed by Anglos; however, only the Irish were truly able to assimilate into the Anglo-Saxon community and ultimately abolish the racial
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