Cultural Diversity In America. Essay

983 words - 4 pages

Cultural DiversityThe book, The Color of Water, is about a black man learning about his white mother for the first time. Ruth McBride-Jordan was a rabbi's daughter who was born in Poland and raised in the South; she fled to Harlem and married a black man, she helped to start a Baptist church and put 12 children through college. With Ruth's unorthodox ways of parenting her children were, often times, put in the face of adversity. In McBride's memoir, we see that cultural diversity is incorporated into his life by the many experiences he endured within the areas of self- identity, education, stereotyping, and community.I believe that all people, especially James McBride, have come in contact with diversity in some way or another. McBride used cultural diversity to his advantage and because of that he has become a successful member of society.I have never doubted who I am because I know where I came from. James McBride knew nothing of his heritage until he was a grown man. His mother was very secretive about her past, never revealing anything personal. Whenever her children would ask her questions about why they were black and she was not or why their family was different she would tell them not to think about those things, because it would get them nowhere in life. Ruth's inconsistencies, quirks, and life philosophies were a bit of a mystery before McBride understood her youth. I remember reading a passage in The Color of Water in which James asks his mother why she does not look like the other mothers...she replied simply, "Because I am not them." Since his mother was not willing to talk about her past James never quite knew who he was. For the most part of his childhood and adolescence he suffered from a serious identity crisis. When he finally sat down with his mom and talked to her about what happened when she was younger he began to understand who he was. In the book McBride says, "I felt like a Tinker toy kid building my own self out of one of those toy building sets; for as she laid her life before me, I reassembled the tableau of her words like a picture puzzle, and as I did, so my own life was rebuilt." I think what he means by this is that his own life is inextricably bound up with his mother's; when he rethinks her life, he in turn rethinks his own.Ruth never allowed her children to be uneducated even during the hard times of the civil rights movement, in which they were growing up. She insisted on the importance of education which meant that James and his siblings often commuted long hours in order to receive the best possible schooling, mostly in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods. As a consequence, James and his siblings were often the sole black students in school, and suffered from...

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