In “America: The Multinational Society”, Ishmael Reed (209) states that American culture is like “bouillabaisse”, consists of different layers of culture backgrounds all over the world.
He starts the essay with an example of a Chinese woman eating a pizza in front of a Ty Thuan Duc’s Vietnamese grocery store (207) from New York Times. This example gives the readers a vivid image of their everyday life. People from different races, speaking different languages living in the United States and settling down. And yet, the source New York Times adds up the credibility, convincing the readers that the writer didn’t make up the story himself.
Reed relates to his personal experience about a poet describing a city that has mosques built by Islamic people and meanwhile forty thousands of Hispanic people living there (208). Turns out, this city is Detroit. This answer is out of the readers’ expectation but not ironic at all, it proves that America’s multinational characteristic is not just revealed in big cities like New York and Los Angelas, it is a nationwide characteristic. Despite the example of Detroit, Reed also talks about his experience of visiting Texas where Spanish is becoming the second official language, a “white” professor who engages himself in minority culture, and pictures of African and Afro-American mythological symbols hanging in the local McDonald’s restaurant (208). These real life examples get the readers’ attention and recognition.
Reed argues that it is not sensible that some scholars recognize American culture as Western civilization only because the minority cultures such as Asian culture and African culture might have played significant roles in enlightening European art (209). His argument rose to an intellectual level and examined the cause and effect of the art history revolution,...