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Interpreting Choy's And Taylor's Short Stories: Issues Of Modern Racism And Prejudice

1327 words - 5 pages

At the time when humans were learning to use spears constructed out of sticks and stones and the
site of fire was a revolutionary discovery, racist and prejudice attitudes predominated, functioning as a
defence mechanism for the human race. The defence mechanism, which helped protect human tribes from
the threat of mysterious, unknown intruders with possible intentions to harm the tribes, now causes harm to
people of different ethnicities. Such harm is observed in the history of North America when the Europeans were establishing settlements on the North American continent. Because of European expansion on the North American continent, the first nations already established on the continent were forced to leave their homes by the Europeans, violating the rights and freedoms of the first nations and targeting them with discrimination; furthermore, in the history of the United States of America, dark skinned individuals were used as slaves for manual labour and were stripped of their rights and freedoms by the Americans because of the racist attitudes that were present in America. Although racist and prejudice attitudes have weakened over the decades, they persist in modern societies. To examine a modern perspective of prejudice and racism, Wayson Choy’s “I’m a Banana and Proud of it” and Drew Hayden Taylor’s “Pretty Like a White Boy: The Adventures of a Blue-Eye Ojibway” both address the issues of prejudice and racism; however, the authors extend each others thoughts about the issues because of their different definitions, perspectives, experiences and realities.

Choy with his unique style to communicate racism to others, carefully crafts his ideas
and thoughts on racism to emphasize his arguments. One aspect of Choy’s style is that he uses analogies of
foods, such as Oreos, bananas, and apples, to define the assimilation of African American, American Indian,
and Chinese individuals to North American culture and to indicate that their appearances reflect their
inborn ethnicities. Furthermore, to approach the issue of racism, Choy focuses his essay on the early Chinese immigrants of North America and uses their perspective of struggling with racial discrimination; in addition, Choy then expands the Chinese’s struggle with racial discrimination by including the causes and the experiences resulting from struggles. The cocktail of events that contributed to such struggles arose when the “Chinese Exclusion laws” (361) were implemented in North America, which prevented Chinese immigrants from acquiring citizenship in Canada or in the USA. The Chinese were not welcomed in North America as the laws specifically targeted Chinese individuals because of their appearance. Also, to legally pass a law to exclude an ethnic group the right for citizenship shows that the government had support from the voting population to implement the law; thus if Chinese individuals were to migrate from China to North America, they would be targeted with...

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