Nicole Smith. “Multicultural Writers and the Quest for Identity” Article Myriad. n.p. Web. 13 May 2014.
The article “Multicultural Writers and the Quest for Identity” was found on a free website known as ArticleMyriad.com. This article analyzes the writings of three different multicultural writers who struggled with being comfortable with their own identities in different ways. Most importantly the article was able to successfully analyze the perspective of the writers’ quests for identity while growing up in white world even though all three writers came from different ethnic backgrounds. One writer was Langston Hughes, an African American writer and the piece of writing focused on was “Theme for English B”. The second writer discussed in the article was Anna Lisa Raya, who was from a Mexican background. Nicole Smith focused on Raya’s “It’s Hard Enough Being Me” which discusses her struggles growing up as a Latina in a white dominated world. The last writer discussed was Amy Tan who wrote about her childhood desire to be accepted by White Culture and her initial shame of her Chinese heritage, which she later learned to appreciate. The article basically sums up their writing while pointing out how hard; life could be for someone growing up in America when their own ethnicity or culture is not part of the dominant white culture.
I chose to write about this article for three different reasons. First of all, I loved how it discussed Langston Hughes “Theme for English B”. This brought me back to the beginning of the semester when we had to read it for class. Secondly, I loved how it mentioned Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks”. This was a piece of literature one of my former high school English teachers used to prepare my class for the regents. I remember certain lines from it as if it were yesterday. As some one who hates my own nose, I can remember how I related to her when she said that she had dreamed of having a “slim new American nose”. Being of mixed race, I had always hated my nose. I remember that while growing up, I always wished I had a nose like the white actresses on television. I always felt that mine was too big. It wasn’t until recently when my boyfriend told me that my nose was unique and one of the things that he had loved most about me that I started to feel less conscious about my own nose. Lastly, I picked this article because it relates very much to the topic of my second essay for English class.
My second essay focused on how students from nontraditional (white) American cultures who moved to new schools where the majority of their classmates were white, would try to adapt to the new culture and cultures around them and as a result would often distance themselves from the cultures that they had originally known as their own. In particular, the main character from American Born Chinese, Jin Wang, was ashamed to be Chinese American and felt that if he could distance himself from his Asian culture, that he would have a better chance of being accepted by his white peers. The person that Jin wanted to impress most was actually a white girl named Amelia. He was so self-conscious about his own identity that he even wished that he could take on a new identity as a white boy named Danny. He even wanted to grow out his hair like a popular white boy in the story because he was convinced it would improve his chances of getting the girl that he desired. Jin’s struggle with his identity is very similar to the one that Amy Tan went through as a child. In “Fish Cheeks” she said, “For Christmas I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert, and a slim new American nose.” Just like Jin, she was deeply ashamed of her Asian culture and wished to be able to conform to the typical white American culture because she felt that she would have a better chance of capturing the heart of the white classmate she had a crush on. The quote listed above also points out that she seemed to hate her own physical appearance. Just like Jin, somewhere in her upbringing she had been influenced to believe that if she looked more white than Asian, that she would be more liked by her peers. However, just like Jin at the end of American Born Chinese, Amy seemed to have learned to appreciate her own identity and cultural background. Lastly, Nicole Smith’s article also analyzed the writing and experiences of two other multicultural writers from two different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Just like how Richard Rodriguez was able to add a different and unique perspective about the struggles of finding comfort with ones identity being from a Latin background, Anna Lisa Raya’s “It’s Hard Enough Being Me” adds an interesting spin on a young Latina’s experiences while on a quest for Identity in the United States. The addition of Langston Hughes in the article gives readers yet another unique perspective of what it can be like growing up in a world where your own culture and ethnicity do not fit in with the majority of those around you.