Racial Identity And Gender Identity Essay

2124 Words May 4th, 2016 9 Pages
Various clashing ideas of how racial identity should be portrayed in literature exist in the world today. Many of these views came about in America following the conclusion of the Civil War, when African American slaves were liberated and finally became able to freely express themselves in the midst of a white society. One view commonly promoted by that white society is that of leaving behind one’s original culture for America’s (majorly white) culture. President Theodore Roosevelt advocated for this assimilation in his book, where he insists, “From his own standpoint, it is beyond all question the wise the wise thing for the immigrant to become thoroughly Americanized. Moreover, from our standpoint, we have the right to demand it” (“American Ideals”). A contrasting perspective subsists in a so-called “mosaic” of culture: a society where people coexist peacefully with members of different backgrounds, while still celebrating their own. However, these are not the only two standpoints. Some authors, like modern-day poet Sherman Alexie, believe in a mixture of both assimilation and cultural heritage. The belief of an author in assimilation, the celebration of cultural heritage, or a combination of the two is often determinable through analysis of their writings.
A strong encouragement of assimilation can be perceived in Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” speech. Washington, a son of slaves who later became a revered teacher and author, spoke at the Atlanta Exposition…

Related Documents