17 March 2014

Alexie and Aliyah

For some reason, I've been trying to find a way to relate to each story we have read in class, but I simply do not. I relate to some due to the fact that my father is an immigrant but not to the extent of the content given in those stories. I would only be able to relate to Langston Hughes because I'm black and always had a white English teacher but nothing more than that. I constantly find myself drawn back to Sherman Alexie's "Superman and Me." My mother is to me what Sherman Alexie’s father was to him. Alexie states “My father, who is one of the few Indians who went to Catholic school on purpose, was an avid reader of westerns, spy thrillers, murder mysteries, gangster epics, basketball player biographies and anything else he could find.” Although my mother is not 100 percent Native American and didn’t live on reservation, my mother is Muslim. My mother grew up with a religious background because of my grandfather, and went to Muslim oriented school. A lot like Alexie’s father, my mom decided to go to a non-Muslim school and pursue a better education. I, too, went to the Muslim school along with my younger sister, but my mother moved from Baltimore and I began public school. “My father loved books, and since I loved my father with an aching devotion, I decided to love books as well.” I relate to this because I remember being completely obsessed with my mom when I was younger, I wanted to be like her. Today, my mother tells me when I was younger she’d ask what I want to be when I grew up and I say “a mommy, like you.” With that being said, when my mother would give me books to read, I’d breeze through them and she’d always be proud of me.

Like Alexie, I was quick to pick up anything I could find, like the cereal box as I ate my cereal, or the back of air freshener cans. Going from reading Dr. Seuss at 2 years to now reading any fashion or history book I can get my hands on at 18, I’m thankful for my childhood obsession with my mom. If it weren’t for my mother, I don’t believe I’d read half the books I read today. “A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike…I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky.” This is a mindset that I’ve had my entire life. Instead of Indian, I say a smart woman is a dangerous person because throughout history women are said to be inferior or not as intelligent as men. I am smart because I read to further educate myself regardless of what the topic is. I am arrogant because I know I am smart and what I am capable of as an educated person. And I am lucky to have parents who raised me to understand the value of reading books and furthering my education. 


  1. "Instead of Indian, I say a smart woman is a dangerous person because throughout history women are said to be inferior or not as intelligent as men."

    What do you mean you "simply do not" relate to any of the readings?! You clearly relate strongly to Alexie's experiences :-) This is a great response to his text, and I assume that's a pic of your fashion books? My wife studies fashion, too; I'll pass these along to her and ask if she has any to share with you, too!

    PS You mean you "always had a white English teacher" until now ;-) I'm curious how that might have affected your reading of "Theme for English B" :-)

    1. I meant I simply could not relate to all the stories as I tried to connect each one somehow to me as I read them.

      Yes, those are my fashion books and that would be nice.

      As I read "Theme for English B" I thought more of my previous English teachers than you because they were white and I'm black whereas it isn't the same with you because you aren't white.

    2. I gotcha! I just wanted you to elaborate :-)