My Hyphenated Identity Analysis

965 Words4 Pages
Alexandra Szkutnik Dr. Weiss English 1010 1 October 2009 Searching for One's Self Growing up is hard enough on all children. Colin Powell and Jhumpa Lahiri, both children of immigrants, had to grow up as the "others" in an America that made them feel singled out because of their races. Colin Powell grew up where race did not seem to matter and as an adult learned otherwise, while Jhumpa Lahiri grew up in a world where she was constantly aware of how different she was, and learned as an adult that that is acceptable. Although race is an issue that has been and still is a major stumbling block of our world today, both Colin Powell and Jhumpa Lahiri have overcome this stigma and grown into adults with mindsets of which, although are different,…show more content…
She was born in London, raised in Rhode Island, and her parents were Bengali, from India. For all of Lahiri's childhood, she felt singled out, and hid her heritage from her American friends. Lahiri felt tremendous pressure to be loyal to India, and the same tremendous pressure to thrive as an American citizen. She always felt as though she fell short at both attempts. In Lahiri's essay, "My Hyphenated Identity," she states "When I was growing up in Rhode Island in the 1970s I felt neither Indian nor American" (156). At home, Lahiri followed traditional Indian customs, such as speaking her native language, Bengali, and eating the rice Lahiri's mother made her with her own fingers. Because these customs were considered strange to her non-immigrant American friends, she hid these facts about her life from them. Outside of her home, Lahiri learned simple, common things about American life that her parents were never exposed to such as the American school system, books, and television. Lahiri also grew up speaking English without any…show more content…
As an adult, he wants to be a role model, but not just to minorities. Powell suggests giving back to our communities through donations, mentoring, and sponsoring schools. Giving back to our communities is an important part of success, and Powell believes it is essential as well. Powell also claims that he was ambitious in his adult life, and without his ambition he would not be where he is today, but that instead of being driven by his ambition only, he was driven by his wanting to do a good job. Powell stresses "The most important thing I can do... is to do the job" (149). He defines himself as a human being who is black, not a black human being. There is a fine line between the two, but there is, in fact, a difference. People need to accept others, despite anything that makes them

More about My Hyphenated Identity Analysis

Open Document