Multiracial Identity in Essays by Julia Alvarez and Danzy Senna

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Multiracial Identity in Essays by Julia Alvarez and Danzy Senna

The essays of Julia Alvarez and Danzy Senna address issues of multiracial identity important in their younger years as they grew up daughters of a multiethnic and multiracial background. Despite the slight generational differences, the same issues are as important today as they were twenty or thirty years ago. The concept of one being multiracial is a relatively new concept. In the past, a person with a mixed racial background could not reasonably claim a mixed heritage openly, one had to identify with one or the either. Those that could not do that usually found themselves isolated from either background. This is made apparent in American literature through
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Yet, this new embracement of multicultural is due more to commercial manipulation rather than an increasing acceptance of the evolving racial equation. One example is the popularity of Latin music. In the last past two years, the popularity of Latin music has exploded and along with it, the careers of people like Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, and Enrique Inglesias. Some of these people claim a mixed racial heritage and accordingly, it seems apparent that a more tolerant and even accepting time in history has come for those of a mixed heritage. Indeed, many entertainers now come to fame based in part on having a mixed racial heritage. However, Latin music has been around for many years and its emergence in the mainstream is unlikely to be due to a more liberal attitude towards multicultural, multiethnic themes. The recent, newly found popularity demonstrates more of a realization that companies can exploit multiracialism for a profit. Commercialism exploits and co-opts the theme of multiculturalism in the name of profit. It glamorizes people who reveal their multicultural or multiracial background and makes them look exotic. However, it is imperative to understand, that these motives are not high-minded. It is simply for profit and record sales, that corporations have encouraged outlets for multicultural and multiracial diversity. Senna notes in her
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