Essay Racial and Ethnic Identity

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The African, Mexican, and Native persons have all interacted with the Dominant American culture in some magnitude; consequently altering each different group’s racial and ethnic Identity. Throughout the semester, I have discovered that in much literature writers had an ideal perspective on their own identity as well as the identity that the dominant culture influenced them to have. While doing some research I wanted to see what would be a transitional time frame for a person to be un-conditioned of many negative symbolic meanings in regard to minorities and immigrants. My research has shown that there was a hierarchical scheme where an individual can monitor his/her identity progression from one level to the next. This …show more content…
This mindset is shown in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Pecola visited and knew three women above her apartment who embraced their lifestyle. Speaking about them Pecola says, “Sugar coated whores, they called them, and did not yearn to be in their shoes. Their only respect was for what they would have described as good Christian colored women” (Morrison 56).

The second stage in the process of developing racial and ethnic identity is encounter. This is when a person “questions the negative stereotypes that have become a part of their ethnic identity. This is evident in How it Feels to be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston. She mentions her first encounter when she realized she was different; “It seemed that I had suffered a sea change. I was not Zora of Orange County anymore. I was now a colored girl. I found it out in certain ways. In my heart as well as in the mirror, I became a fast brown warranted not to rub or run” (Hurston).

The third stage is Immersion-Emersion. This is when a person begins to rid themselves of their ethnic self-hatred and discover their traditional culture and customs (Cushner, McClelland and Safford). This is evident in The School Days of an Indian Girl by Zitkala-Sa. Here as a returning student who has been assimilated to American ways, changes from a school girl back into her traditional culture: “I could speak English almost as well as my brother, but I was not properly