Weighing In Essay
Racism has repeatedly played a controversial role throughout the course of history. This is a topic fueled by the heated arguments of the parties on both ends of the matter, may it be the cry of the victim or defense of the offender. As described in the works of two members of ethnic minorities coping with the alienation they both faced in what is supposed to be the land of diversity, Firoozeh Dumas’ “The F Word,” and Brent Staples’ “Black Men and Public Space, racism is portrayed as a dark shadow cast upon those who may not seem to conform to the “norms” of western culture to the typical American. Such stereotypes and predispositions should not hold the power to classify and simplify human beings to one single standard of a certain background, as one single story or idea does not define an entire mass of people.
In Firoozeh Dumas’ “The F Word,” she describes her life growing up as an Iranian in America. From the very beginning of her transition into western society, Dumas was exposed to the ugly world of racism at the tender age of seven, an idea almost too outlandish to even entertain. The idea that children at such a young age could feel the need to alienate someone due to unfamiliarity shows that indifference to foreign culture and background can begin at almost any age. She writes that her cousin was named Farbod, a respectable Iranian name meaning “greatness,” but in a land filled with “Joe’s and Mary’s,” this was completely alien to his peers, resulting in his nickname “Farthead.” Similarly, her brother, Farshid, meaning “he who enlightens” became known as “Fartshit.” A friend of Dumas’ sounded too similarly to an African American slur and her brother’s name reminded those of a skin condition. These children earned themselves such vulgar names solely due to the fact that they were raised and named accordingly to their culture, something that should never be disrespected or looked down upon as abnormal just...
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