Collective Memory: Race, Identity, Culture, And Memory

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According to Klein, collective memory is a “diverse and shifting collection of materials, artifacts and social practices. ” This ever shifting collection of memories transforms over time due to the social construction or re-scripting of memory through conversation. Any sort of interpersonal interaction with the goal of coming to a consensus about a single event has the possibility of being a site for conflict. The changing historical narratives and how these shifts speak to the broader issues of race, identity, geography, and memory influence the main questions of this essay: How do the shifting dynamics and influx of minority communities affect White supremacists’ ability to continue to control America’s collective memory? How are specific …show more content…
Hurd found that the practices of normative whiteness in the school environment can impede the school involvement and educational opportunity of Mexican-descent students, ultimately preventing Mexican students from forming a collective-identity. This isolation forces Mexican students to assimilate, which is affecting their forging of collective identity as an ethnic group. For example, in Race: The Power of an Illusion, Native Americans continually integrated into the White culture of the colonial times. In the end, this drastic assimilation was not to their benefit, because in reality, although Native Americans were not immigrants; they were victims of White supremacy. The Native American cultural assimilation is a demonstration of a re-forging of a collective memory for the sake of peace is a possible site of racial conflict. Although there was a potential for Native American culture to be lost, if Native Americans had not begun to assimilate by wearing the “White man’s clothes,” they would have been viewed as enemies of the colonies rather than possible allies. Since White supremacy was demonstrated so early on in American history, there is an expectation that every group will assimilate to the collective American identity just as the Native Americans did. The idea of …show more content…
How does a new group assimilate into a culture that is not representative of its own? King argues that the new group must first recognize that it is in the process of assimilating in order to recognize the oppression the group is experiencing. This can often be traumatic. Once a group identifies the need for a re-forging or correction of its current history, racial conflict erupts. The opposition to ethnic studies in Arizona is an example of a minority group’s recognition of the need to re-forge the collective memory of Latinos in the Arizona school system. In this example, Latino ethnic study courses provided all students an opportunity to learn about history through the perspective of another culture. The students were learning language arts and history through a Latino perspective, which many Latino students found extremely beneficial. As most students explained in the PBS documentary, Precious Knowledge, the ethnic studies program was most beneficial to Latino students, because despite their history of immigration, the students were able to learn about their own culture within the larger American context. Ultimately, this program provided the Latino students a chance to forge their own collective

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