Analysis Of Down These Mean Streets By Piri Thomas

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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.

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