Power of the Dominant Culture
America is the most diverse country with many different people and different cultures from all over the world; because of immigration. Since immigrants have been more accepted and welcomed in the United States, the numbers of intermarriages and biracial children have been increasing extensively. Although, multiracialism brings all races closer, some people use their own culture as a standard. These people who hold their unmixed racial lineage as the golden standard often evaluate other races which leads to racial discrimination. This is the main problem that we are facing in America. In the book, Identity Matters by Lillian Bridwell-Bowles, she put together Reginald McKnight’s essay, Mura’s essay, and Alexis’ short story to address this problem and how the writer, the speaker, or the character has affected the society.
In the first essay, “Confessions of a Wannabe Negro”, Reginald McKnight was talking about the struggle of being a black student and the journey of finding his true self as a black boy. People like Reginald McKnight were being mistreated by society because of their skin color and their way of acting. Despite of what his friends were calling him, McKnight just ignored them because he knew that he could never fight back the majority since he was the only black kid at his Catholic school. Born in Germany and attending a white-dominated school growing up, moving to a segregated school was a big change for McKnight. He felt more comfortable around his new black friends and teachers. But that did not last long, the fact that he didn’t fit in with his other classmates led to harassment towards him. McKnight cites Trey Ellis, who writes, “It wasn’t unusual for me to be called ‘oreo’ and ‘nigger’ on the same day…. I realized I was a cultural mulatto” (McKnight 68). He prefers himself as a cultural mulatto because his behavior was not accepted by the black community. However, he also cannot be accepted into the white community because he was born as a black male. But McKnight would not let those things define who he is because his “differentness, his relative uniqueness, expands the black world, makes it more complex” (McKnight 72) ………..
Living in the country where white is a dominant culture can be tough for the minor group of people in the society. In “Secret and Anger”, David Mura showed us how the Americans have replaced all the people of color’s roles in the society. The feeling of anger toward his white friends over the discussion that they had about Asian-Americans did not get the chance to play the parts that are about Asian characters in the most famous Broadway production of Miss Saigon. The fact that Mura explained to his friends about his personal experience about racial discrimination growing up rather than assault each other. Being a third generation Japanese-American has given Mura strong feeling of pain and anger because he does not want his daughter, who is mixed race, to experience this issue that he had. Mura says, “Unless the world is radically different, on some level, you will still have to choose: Are you a person of color or not?” (David Mura 38). Mura explained the prejudices against white and color people to his daughter. His opinion with whites is they already have the privilege, the power in the society, whereas Japanese-Americans have to fight to keep their identity.
Native Americans, also being called Indians did not even claim the United States their country. They feel like they have lost what supposed to be theirs and being taken by the dominant group. In “Integration”, Sherman Alexis reveals the life of John, an Indian boy trying to find his identity that he has not been given since birth because he was adopted by members of the dominant culture. Alexie describes the feeling of anger he always has toward himself and this left him wondering who he was and where he actually belonged to. When the white foster was trying to breast feeding him, “he takes the white woman’s right nipple in his mouth. He pulls at her breast. It is empty” (Alexie 43). This literally shows that his step white mom does not have milk because she was not giving birth to him. But metaphorically, this white couple could not provide him his true identity, and the culture that he has lost. In the view of him being the only Indian, orphan kid at St. Francis Catholic School, he would get special cares from his teachers because they assume that he has confidence problems or the lack of God in his life (Alexis 45). With all these questions he had to himself inspire him to learn more about his identity and learn about which cultures he should be participate in.
In conclusion, it is important for the society to have respect to all different races or to any identities people choose to be. The purpose of the three were to unite everybody. We all live in a generation where everyone has different opinions on things, they are trying to change the world to a better place. But everybody has experiences whether it good or bad times. The three writers were trying to address this problem on what need to be said.