Essay Son America

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Despite of his father, his color, and his lack of education, James Baldwin grew up to be a respected author of essays, plays, and novels.

While claiming that he was one of the best writers of the era could be argued either way, it is hard to argue the fact that he was indeed one of the most well-known authors of the time.

The narrative began with my countries of origin, Nigeria and England, and my parent’s marriage—with my white mother who was disowned by her parents for choosing to marry a black man.

The essay then wound its way through other places where I have lived or traveled—France, Zimbabwe, the U. I wrote of the social construction of race as found in America and Southern Africa and how these particular societal constructions of race were largely alien to me, having been raised in Nigeria. K., which was partially eclipsed by the prevalence of social class, Britain’s preferred mode of social segregation.

Before we were married, my husband asked me if I identified as “black.” I remember thinking this an odd question.

I thought it should be obvious that I identified as black even though I was, “technically,” half black and half white.

It also resulted in intense racism and discrimination against Japanese Americans by some other Americans. At first, Japanese American military volunteers were rejected; young men of draft age were classified as “enemy aliens.” In spite of prejudice, young (second generation Japanese in the U. They wanted to remove the shame caused by Pearl Harbor, and they were determined to prove their loyalty to their country, thus bringing honor to their Japanese community in the U. If you saw many young Japanese today showing their individuality through outrageous fashion and non-conformist behavior or if you watched television programs that bring audiences pleasure by humiliating individuals, you might assume that the shame/honor tradition has been eroded.

However, obligations to family, school, employer, and friends still tend to guide most Japanese behavior.

Then goes into narration about his father when Baldwin was growing up, “He was not a young man when we were growing up and he had already suffered many kinds of ruin; in his outrageously demanding and protective way he loved his children, who were black like him and menaced, like him; and all these things sometimes showed in his face when he tried, never to my knowledge with any success, to establish contact with any of us (64).” And the rest of that paragraph continues the narration about growing up with his father.

The book had long intrigued me for I had heard that it was widely taught in creative writing courses and was a favorite of many authors, including several well-known authors whose work I admire.


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