Many people ask me where am I from. My answer is I am from Puerto Rico. Generally, their reaction always is like are you sure? you don’t look Puerto Rican you look more Dominican. Often, I ask myself am I Dominican or am I Puerto Rican? Piri Thomas was born in Harlem, New York he was born during the Great Depression. His mother is a light-skinned Puerto Rican and his father is a dark skin Cuban. Thomas introduced himself to the world in the prologue of his memoir Down These Mean Streets. This story is about a black son of a Puerto Rican and Cuban during the Great Depression in El Barrio, East Harlem, the dehumanizing racism he even faced within his family and neighbors. When his family moves from 111th street to 114th street, Piri face’s a new culture however, he does not seem to fit in. Piri takes his dark coloring from his father and spends his adolescence trying to balance the need to fit in.
In this short exert from the story Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas, Piri works really hard to fit in with the Italians. At the beginning of the story, Piri Thomas starts by saying, “Sometimes you don’t fit in. Like if you’re a Puerto Rican on an Italian block” (Thomas 814). Many people relate to this story, it does not matter where you were born people will always judge you by the way you look. When Piri says “sometimes you don’t fit in”, what he is trying to say is that even though he was born in the U.S. but his parents are from the Caribbean, his aspects are Hispanic.
On the other hand, personal experiences of a Puerto Rican woman are shown and she explains how people around her judge her behavior, her actions, and even the way she dresses.
Ann Petry’s novel The Street (1946) is a commentary on the social injustices that confronted the protagonist Lutie Johnson. Lutie is a single African American mother who lives in segregated America during the 1940’s. Throughout the novel, we see that during this time period Lutie is confronted by racism, sexism, and classism on a daily basis while in her pursuit of the American Dream for herself and her son Bub. Lutie is convinced that if she follows the example of Benjamin Franklin, by working hard and saving wisely, she will be able to achieve the dream of being financially independent and therefore be able to move out from the Street in which she is confined to. Benjamin Franklin is embodied in the text through the character Junto. It is Junto that is supposed to get Lutie closer towards her dream. However, Junto, through his secret manipulations tries to possess Lutie sexually, ultimately leading Lutie towards her path of destruction and she ends up committing the murder of Junto’s henchman, Boots. Junto represents the writer Petry’s deep disillusionment with this cultural myth of the so-called American dream. In Richard Wright’s novel Native Son (1940), The protagonist Bigger Thomas, is a 20-year-old African American youth who grew up in segregated America during the 1930s. Throughout this novel, we see Bigger also striving towards the pursuit of the American Dream. Bigger risks everything to not compromise his pursuit towards success. Unfortunately, he ends up falling
Anzaldúa wrote about the conflicting views that Chicanos face involving their own self-identity growing up in societies that tell them they do not belong. Chicanos are people that were born in the United States but have parents that were born in Mexico. They face constant criticism for the way they speak, by both American and Mexican people. Often times Chicanos are told that they’re cultural traitors and that they’re speaking the oppressors’ language and ruining the Spanish language when they are heard speaking English by Latinos (Anzaldúa, 17). They are made to feel as if they need to choose a sole identity to represent and anything other than that is going to be looked down on. Chicanos have felt as if they didn’t belong anywhere, so they created an identity to fit in and belong to “Chicano Spanish sprang out of the Chicanos’ need to identify ourselves as a distinct people” (Anzaldúa, 17). A feeling of
Imagine feeling like you don’t belong and never will, or that the odds of your success is a slim chance to none. The House on Mango Street written by Sandra Cisneros, leads us into a world of poverty, broken dreams, and slithers of hope. The House on Mango Street follows the life of a young girl by the name of Esperanza Cordero, who occupies her childhood in an indigent Latino neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. The books expresses her dire need to have a place where she can call home, and escape the harsh reality of her expected life. Though, her life on Mango Street is bearable with help of her little sister Nenny, her two best friends Rachel and Lucy, and her other friend Sally. On her journey to adulthood, Sandra Cisneros will show how Esperanza assimilates into a mature young lady, who truly find her identity, and develops emotionally as well as physically.
Stereotypes are dangerous weapons in our society. “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” is a short essay in which the award winning poet and professor of English, Judith Ortiz Cofer, wishes to inform and persuade the audience that labels and stereotypes can be humiliating and hurtful. The author targets the general public, anyone that doesn’t understand that putting someone in a box because of a stereotype is wrong. Cofer starts out the essay by telling the reader a story with a drunk man who re-enacted “Maria” from the West Side Story, and how angry that made her feel. She continues by explaining how she grew up in the United States being a Puerto Rican girl trying to fit in, but always being labeled as an island girl. Cofer carries on by explaining why Latin people get dressed and act a certain way. Then she recalls some more stereotypical incidents.
When living in Puerto Rico we were the same as everyone else. We never felt any oppression. We understood that there were people of different shades of skin color but it wasn’t an identifier for us. I believe the only thing that made us different was that our mother was Dominican and
The novel “The Street” by Ann Petry demonstrates the relationship of Lutie Johnson and urban setting by personifying the wind, using imagery to show how brutal the wind was, selection of detail and figurative language in which refers to a deeper meaning of the wind-racial discrimination.
A neighborhood that was once Irish, Jewish, Greek and African American has drastically changed throughout the years (Snyder, 2015). While New York is viewed as the cultural center, this area of Manhattan is now often referred to as “little Dominican Republic” as Dominicans immigrated to Washington Heights in the 1960s. After the end of Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship, many Dominican families fled to the United States to escape civil unrest and political violence (Pantoja, 2005). Today, the largest population of Dominican born and descendants of Dominican Republic in the borough of Manhattan are living in Washington Heights. There is also a growing Ecuadorian, Mexican and Puerto Rican population in the neighborhood (Bleiwas & DiNapoli, 2015). These cultures are prominent within the streets of the Heights as there are a multitude of Latin cuisines, churches, botanicals and pharmacies that cater to Latin families. As the neighborhood shifted through the 60s and 80s, it seems to be undergoing a new
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." This quote applies to the book titled "The King of Mulberry Street" written by Donna Jo Nampoli. The book progressively explains the journey taken by a young Napolian Jew as he traveled to America. Beniamino, the protagonist, arrives in America alone in search for money, food, and shelter. The novels central idea is about acceptance. The texts central idea is shared within the poems, " “My Name" by Sandra Cisneros and, “Miss Clements Second Grade,” by Maryfrances Cusamano Wagner. Both poems discuss characters attempting to fit in by wanting to change themselves.
Paul Watt and Kevin Stenson, The Street: It’s a bit dodgy around there’ safety, danger, ethnicity and young people’s uses of public spaces, chapter 15 in Geographies of youth, youth cultures: Cool places The aim of this chapter is to question young people’s feelings and experiences when moving around a town in the South East of England. The town, named Thamestown by the authors. The area in which Thamestown is location, is described as a predominantly white, wealthy middle class area of the south east of England. Between June 1994 and July 1995 Watt, Stenson and other researchers investigated, how an ethnically mixed group of young people use public spaces in terms of danger and safety. Several key points arise in this chapter. Racial segregation
The greatest problem that the society faces in the inner city black community is the interpersonal violence and aggression created by the troubled youth in their society. By simply living in this kind of violent, innocent people are affected by crimes such as burglaries, carnapping and drug related incident and shootings.
Throughout the article “The Code of the Streets,” Elijah Anderson explains the differences between “decent” and “street” people that can be applied to the approaches of social control, labeling, and social conflict theories when talking about the violence among inner cities due to cultural adaptations.
In this paper, I plan to first describe the “Code of the Street” which is a term coined and a book written by Elijah Anderson. I would also summarize and describe two journal articles that test Anderson’s idea of the “Code of the Street” for a more definite explanation. I will tell how the two articles that I have chosen relates to some of the concepts that Anderson talked about in the book. I will then define general strain theory and social learning or differential association theory. Lastly, I will explain how general strain theory and social learning theory or differential association theory explain some of the behaviors that were seen by the individuals in the book published by Anderson. I will point out some of the individual’s behavior and demonstrate whether it may lead to crime or whether the behavior was learned in any way.
By far the most interesting topic to me the semester was The Code of The Streets by Elijah Anderson. After reading this, I started searching for solutions in my head. I refuse to believe that this is “how things are”. It’s unacceptable. The “eye for an eye” and “snitches get stitches” mentality that the people who live in black inner city communities is very troubling. What’s even more troubling is the fact that it’s due to their lack of faith in the justice system, rightfully so. These people are living in a world where they believe that the police are against them. The police, who are supposed to be their protectors are, in many cases, doing the opposite. However, I don’t believe that police officers are the enemy. I do think that everyone,
After having read the novel “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros I will now concentrate on the background of the novel that moved Sandra Cisneros to write it by investigating the novel with special regard to its different dimensions.