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Being Put On The Spot Essay

1478 words - 6 pages

Being Put On The Spot In the book Literature For Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, And Drama, by Addison Wesley Longman, there are six poems that have a similarity within each other. As one can take a first look, those who are "minorities" in the United States of America wrote all of these poems. Aurora Levins Morales, a Puerto Rican female, wrote "Child of the Americas". Langston Hughes, an African American male, wrote "Theme for English B". Pat Parker, an African American female, wrote the controversial poem "For the white person who wants to know how to be my friend". "To the Lady" was by a female who was a daughter of Japanese immigrants, Mitsuye Yamada. As a Native American female, Nila Northsun wrote the poem "Moving Camp Too Far". And last but not least, Sherman Alexie, a Native American male, wrote "On the Amtrak from Boston to New York City". One may also notice the title of each poem. Some of the poems have simple titles, and some have titles that are long as a sentence, and some have titles that capture the author's interest. But once the reader reads all of the poems, he or she will notice that each poem is talking to a specific group who are considered a "majority" of the United States. In other words, White/Caucasian Americans are being on the spot. Some of these poems contain conflicts between the author's race and White people, and some show how the author's race can be a part of American history; however, those who are not the same race as the author can either overlook and/or misunderstand these messages.Some of these poems show a struggle between two forces, and those forces are the author's race and White people. "Theme for English B" and "For the white person who wants to know how to be my friend" are the best examples for the following statement. These two poems contain a comparison between the most common conflict when it comes to racism in America, Black and White people, but in two different ways. Hughes uses likening without any remarks that sound racist. He mentions that although White people are not Black people, and vice versa, they are all just alike. One can understand the meaning when the narrator says that he like to "eat, sleep, drink, and be in love"¦ like to work, read, learn, and understand life"¦". Then, he says that just because he is Black, does not mean that he has to like things different from other races, which can be true. As for Parker on the other hand, her words are not that friendly. Although one can tell that she is not being racist, her choice of words seems to attack like she has an attitude. On "For the white person"¦" she brings a point on how White people likes Aretha Franklin as an artist, but chooses not to talk about it toward Black people because Aretha is Black. But when she says things like, ""¦eat soul food if you like, but don't expect me to locate your restaurants or cook it for you, " it makes one wonder if she could have said it in a friendlier way....

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