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Compare and Contrast "what It's like to Be a Black Girl" by Patricia Smith (an African- American) and "child of the Americas" by Aurora Levin Morales (a Latino)

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Essay Preview: Compare and Contrast "what It's like to Be a Black Girl" by Patricia Smith (an African- American) and "child of the Americas" by Aurora Levin Morales (a Latino)

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The theme I chose for my paper was race/ethnicity. For the literary works, I will compare and contrast "What It's Like To Be A Black Girl" by Patricia Smith (an African- American) and "Child Of The Americas" by Aurora Levin Morales (a Latino). They were both born in America, which is an important fact because Blacks and other minorities in the U.S. experienced extreme racism and prejudice compared to their peers in other countries. The poems tell how two young ladies, from different cultures, view themselves with different beliefs. These two poems are important because they deal with racism and discrimination issues which occurred prior to the Civil Rights Era and still exist today. Although, each of them experienced discrimination their perceptions, its effects, and how they coped were very different.

In order to understand racism and its effects on minorities, we must first understand what race/racism, prejudice, discrimination and ethnicity are since many people use these interchangeably to mean the same thing. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, race is defined as the inherited physical characteristics that identify a group of people; racism is the belief that all members of each race possess certain characteristics or abilities specific to that race and it is especially used to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races; prejudice is an attitude of prejudging someone that is not based on reason or actual experience;discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex; and ethnicity (also ethnic group)is a group of people, whose members identify with each other, through a common: heritage, language, and/or an ideology that stresses ancestry.Why is all of this important? It is important because many minorities are faced with these issues daily. Minorities are considered the subordinate group and can be found in all societies. Minorities share five characteristics including: unequal treatment, distinguishing physical or cultural traits, involuntary membership, awareness of being a subordinate, and in-group marriage; being a minority has nothing to do with being the majority in a society (Schaefer, 2011, p. 2). All of these affect how others will perceive you so they affect the treatment of individuals, which is shown in the two stories that I chose.

The poem "What It's Like To Be A Black Girl" is about a nine year old African-American, who does not like her physical appearance including her hair, skin, and eyes. She wishes she had blue eyes, blonde hair, and light skin, so that she would be accepted by other races; she really wishes she were White!The little girl feelsthat God did not finish her or make her equal to others, so she tries dyeing her eyes blue with food color, which proves how desperate she was to change the color.The character then takes a new mop head, places it on her head, and pretends it is a white wig in order to cover her kinky (nappy) hair. Excitedly, she prances around in front of the mirror, pretending to be White, but suddenly seems surprised that her brown skin still exists. Her body is developed in places she could not believe, as she is transforming into a woman,not yet able to deal with all the attention she is getting from boys and men. Double-dutch is the game of choice during



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