Stranger in America

1247 Words5 Pages
16 October 2013
From the Outside Looking In What does it mean to be an “American”? To each individual person it means something very different. For the writer Bharati Mukherjee, who wrote the essay, “American Dreamer”, to be a true American someone has to want to be an American, not just prove that they merited citizenship. Her essay “American Dreamer” goes in depth into this idea and her opinion that as an American one should believe in bringing together the cultures in America. “We must think of American culture and nationhood as a constantly reforming, transmogrifying “we” (Mukherjee 438). For the author James Baldwin, who wrote the essay “Stranger in the Village”, an American is a person who is integrated with other cultures, and
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Baldwin says, “The time has come to realize that the interracial drama acted out on the American continent has not only created a new black man, it has created a new white man, too. (Baldwin 449) Baldwin believed that the time has come for Americans to open their eyes to the world around them and learn to embrace the new cultures constantly growing to be apart of what makes up America. As an African-American in the 50s Baldwin especially felt how important it was for there to be and end to the separation of cultures and race in America. Another main likeness between “American Dreamer” and “Stranger in the Village” is the author’s thoughts and beliefs for the future of America. Even though the time frame of the two essays is very different both of the authors agree that Americans need to embrace foreigners and grow with the new cultures, which is an ideal that is still relevant today. Mukherjee believes that for the future Americans need to be actively involved in fighting discrimination. Americans need to move away from the cultural ideas of the forced assimilation of the “melting pot” and the multicultural “mosaic”. She believes that Americans must stray from the “us versus them” mentality; we need to think of America as a “we” in order to grow and prosper as a country. (Mukherjee 437-438) In that same sense Baldwin believes that Americans have to step away from their normal way of viewing other cultures
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