Double Consciousness and Its Present State

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On that viscerally vibrant Friday morning, in that urbanized oasis, a group of primarily Black and Hispanic students united at El Cerrito High School to discuss their parents and peers very real struggle to achieve the American dream. The stories of racism, oppression, gentrification, and deportation filled the classroom with the voices of varied languages and vernaculars, a majority of which felt caught between cultures and pulled away at the seams by opposing orientations. These fourteen and fifteen year olds spoke of parents requiring them to speak the language of a place they’ve never been, of teachers demanding a “Standard English” they’ve never been taught, of friends questioning their “Americaness” because they didn’t know the difference between Disneyland and Disneyworld. This youthful minority-majority population is faced with cultural double identity; a term that reflects the cognitive dissonance an individual feels when their identity is fragmented along cultural, racial, linguistic or ethnic lines. This conflict of self is not isolated to this classroom in San Francisco’s East Bay are. It brims over into every classroom within California, where “no race or ethnic group constitutes a majority of the state’s population” (Johnson). It must be said then, that the culturally and linguistically diverse California classrooms must integrate texts that examine the psychological state of double identity. Turning to Luis Valdez’ play “Zoot Suit”, Chester Himes’s protest
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