Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formattingExcerpt from essay:
Mirror of the Face of America
Robert Takaki's book A Different Mirror is a history of the people of the nation of America. The book is not, however, a history of America that a reader might expect when he or she first opens an introductory text. The subtitle of A Different Mirror is A History of Multicultural America. The book attempts to give a fuller history of America. It tries to give a fuller history of the America of nationalities such as the Native Indian peoples of America, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Irish-Americans, and of the people of the Jewish religion in America. By telling the different stories of these different groups, Robert Takaki demonstrates that more conventional American history books are incomplete. The history of A Different Mirror is not simply the history of many different American groups -- it is a more complete history of America itself. The book shows that America is a nation founded by immigrants, rather than a nation dominated by one White people and one White face or image.
Robert Takaki begins his book on a personal level, explaining how on one day he had traveled from San Francisco to Norfolk, Virginia "and was riding in a taxi to my hotel to attend a conference on multiculturalism" when his White, forty-something taxi driver complimented him on his excellent English. Takaki was surprised. His Japanese grandfather came to America in the 1880s! Of the many European immigrants, Takaki reminds the reader, although he did not remind the taxi driver at the time of his journey, that Asians and Africans make up large numbers of individuals who emigrated to the United States during the 19th century -- of which his own ancestor was one of that proud number, yearning to breathe free! (2) Of course, Takaki's English was excellent -- it was the only language he spoke! But because of his Japanese appearance, the White, Southern taxi driver assumed that Takaki was a recent immigrant from Japab, even in the year of 1993, when A Different Mirror was written.
This incident is funny and truthful on a number of levels. On one hand, it underlines the taxi driver's racism and assumptions about what an American must look like to be an American. Also, Takaki is headed, in the Deep American South to a conference on multiculturalism, while experiencing discrimination himself as a Japanese-American. And finally, the presence of Indian names such as the Powhatan River in the Virginia where the conference is located reminds Takaki (and should remind his driver) that as Asian and White Americans, they are both strangers in a strange land, originally named by Indian peoples. Neither man can lay claim to being a pure American. And the fact that both Takaki and the driver are in Virginia, a colony named for the Virgin Queen by the English explorer Walter Raleigh, also shows that "indigenous people themselves" would become "strangers in their own land," as Indian names of states were replaced by English names.
Despite this multicultural history, many White Americans are still anxious about White people becoming the minority group. They are frightened they will become only one group among many, in a majority nonwhite society. When Takaki was traveling to his conference, the popular American news journal Time Magazine had an anxious headline about the browning of America by 2056. Soon, America would become a majority nonwhite society, said the author of the Time article. Yet before the coming of Columbus and the Europeans, this was already the case for American society. (2)
Takaki notes what is changing was not America's face, but the way that White Americans are thinking about themselves and about American society. Over the course of his book, by detailing such debates that occurred before "The Trail of Tears," which resulted in Native Americans being driven off of their land, despite treaties which gave them the right to live as a tribe upon such territory, Takaki shows how false the idea of a White America is -- America was never purely White in its ethnic makeup. (93) Furthermore, the "Trail" had more to do with money and the desire to settle the West for financial reasons, than for the rights of White Americans to establish themselves upon new territories. The fact that Indians did not see property as 'owned' like European-Americans caused the American government of Andrew Jackson to feel justified in taking away the Native people's land to enrich the American people and government. "According to [early English explorer] Roger Williams, when the Indians were ready to harvest the corn, "all the neighbors men and women, forty, fifty, a hundred," joined in the work and came "to help freely." (38) Williams could not understand such an open attitude to land ownership, and thus felt the Indians did not really own the land -- an idea that was remembered by Jackson and the Senate when the American government negotiated with Indian tribes.
But America's early past history is easy to forget. Even American scholars like Harold Bloom, who complain that minorities are not being melted and, in Bloom's words, "digested" into American culture forget that debates about American-ness have been going on for a long time. Events such as the internment of Japanese-Americans but not white German-Americans show how the image of America remains 'white,' despite the many ethnicities and cultures within America's borders, and despite the many American citizens of different racial and ethnic categories. But things are changing. Takaki asks optimistically, why does the University of Minnesota, a state with, when the book was written a 93% White population, require every student to take an ethnic studies course before graduation? Because, stated the university's president, Minnesota is part of America, and must prepare its students for a multiracial and diverse America of the future. (4)
To understand the way a culture defines itself, one must ask, who is 'we.' And Takaki states that "we" Americans as a people are diverse. The "we the people," that are Americans, are not simply White and Black, or White vs. Black, the true citizens of Americans wear many faces. This is also why the book is called A Different Mirror, because it shows that while America may define itself as White, it is not a White nation nor has it ever been. Even the English author Shakespeare painted America as a brown and in his eyes, savage nation, when he wrote about it in "The Tempest." (25) America may see itself as a White nation, and White Americans may see themselves just as plain Americans, but America has always been made up of many people.
Also, what Americans think today as 'White' Americans, such as Irish and Jewish immigrants were not even classified as White when they first came to America's shores. (139) Once upon a time, Irish maids were called "Brigit," regardless of their real names, because they were not seen as American or fully White, because of their occupation, class, and accent. (154) But it proved easier for Jewish and Irish immigrants to insinuate themselves in American life, especially economic life. "America was in everybody's mouth," a Jewish immigrant recalled, of the time before she emigrated. "Businessmen talked [about] it over their accounts; the market women made up their quarrels that they might discuss it from stall to stall; people who had relatives in the famous land." (7) This is because some immigrant groups, such as Jewish and Irish-Americans have been more successful at seeming like 'normal' or traditional Americans, because of their perceived Whiteness. Other groups, like the Chinese-Americans or African-Americans that came to America's shores, and Japanese-Americans like the author, are still seen as outsiders because they cannot pretend to be White as easily.
Takaki thus shows that not all groups experience the…[continue]
"Mirror Of The Face Of America Robert" (2005, July 03) Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/mirror-of-the-face-america-robert-64818
"Mirror Of The Face Of America Robert" 03 July 2005. Web.10 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/mirror-of-the-face-america-robert-64818>
"Mirror Of The Face Of America Robert", 03 July 2005, Accessed.10 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/mirror-of-the-face-america-robert-64818
health care industry in America today is suffering greatly. It is suffering from spiraling costs, decreasing availability of qualified personnel, increasing demand for its services, and uncertainty relative to its future. Some of these problems are the result of mismanagement, lack of foresight, an aging population, and, perhaps greed but regardless of the causes the solutions must be determined and the present political climate makes this difficult. The Obama administration
John Ashbery is widely regarded as America's greatest living poet: his collected earlier work is currently published in a Library of America edition, an honor that has been accorded to no other American poet of his generation. Ashbery's career spans generations and centuries: his first book was published when selected by W.H. Auden for a literary prize in 1956, but in 2007 he accepted the honor of being Poet Laureate
American Ethnic Culture What is an American? It is clear that Progressive era Americans from different backgrounds differentially defined precisely what being an American actually meant. Stephen Meyer wrote in the work entitled "Efforts at Americanization in the Industrial Workplace 1914-1921 that Americanization "…involved the social and cultural assimilation of immigrants into the mainstream of American life…" but that the process was of the nature that was comprised of "a unique and distinctly
Fault: An Alternative to the Current Tort-Based System in England and Wales The United Kingdom statistics regarding claims THE NATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM OBSTACLES TO DUE PROCESS THE CASE FOR REFORM THE REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT THE RISING COST OF LITIGATION LORD WOOLF'S REFORMS MORE COST CONTROLS THE UNITED STATES PAUL'S PULLOUT THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY TORT REFORM IN AMERICA FLEEING PHYSICIANS STATISTICS FOR ERROR, INJURY AND DEATH THE CALL FOR REFORM IN 2003: A FAMILIAR REFRAIN THE UNITED STATES SITUATION, IN SUMMARY NEW ZEALAND CASE STUDIES THE SWEDISH SCHEME COMPARISON: WHICH SYSTEM
For instance, renowned designer Barbara Matera explained that when Glenn Close first tried on the Norma Desmond costume described above, she "winced under its weight" (New York's Top Costume Shop Reveals Its Secrets 1996:3). The costume's designer, Anthony Powell, instructed Close to turn around and face the mirror, and "upon seeing the stunning result her whole attitude changed" (4). Other anecdotal accounts on the design process from Matera included:
Joan Crawford's life appeared to mirror the characters that she portrayed on film in several ways. By analyzing the 1945 film Mildred Pierce, in which Crawford plays the titular character, one can see how Mildred's character is designed to reflect American perspectives of women. For example, in the film and in real life, Crawford was able to reinvent herself and become more successful as time went on. However, despite her successes,
Bartoleme De Las Casas An Analysis of the Activism of Bartoleme De Las Casas Often characterized by modern historians as the "Defender and the apostle to the Indians," Bartolome de Las Casas is known for exposing and condemning as well as exaggerating and misrepresenting the violent practices of Spanish colonizers of the New World against Native Americans. Marked by emotional polemic and often embellished statistics, Las Casas' voluminous works brought him both