Racial Identity in Multi-Ethnic America

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After the war, the idea of being multicultural raised doubts not only about nationalism but also about imperialism and colonialism. After the brutal midcentury experience of those -isms, it was no longer easy to assume that any single culture was so superior that it justified the domination of others. The word multicultural advocated coexistence. To our north, for example, Canadians used multicultural to describe their attempt to accommodate both English and French culture and language in their commonwealth. In the United States, multicultural led a quiet life until it became a key word in the "culture wars" of the 1980s and 1990s. Liberals began voicing their dream of the United States as a multicultural country, one with diverse peoples and cultures drawn from all over the world, sharing a common belief in freedom and democracy. Instead of seeing the country as a melting pot (1907) cooking up a single American way of life, they celebrated diversity. When the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 took place it changed the lives of many Arab-American people. Because it was Arab descent who planned the attacks, many experienced xenophobia and were very angry or suspicious of anyone they seen who was of the same race. Ali Hossaini wrote “Can I be at war with myself? Watching the World Trade Center collapse, then living through the aftermath, I ask that absurd question.” He went on to say, “The attacks put me in an awful place. Like everyone else, I am horrified and angered, I feel excluded from the national unity. Why?”(Uchmanowicz,2004) Ali was subjected to reprisals and had to figure out who he was. The dilemma of trying to fit into a category is especially prevalent with multicultural individuals, because any one label cannot do their entire identity justice. Biracial students are forced to identify with one parent over the other (Hrydziuszko, L.,1996). In the life of Anna Lisa Raya who was Mexican and Puerto Rican she had to try and figure...
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