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America has always had a culturally diverse society but discrimination among races is common in the country. Ethnic wars shaped the American history as the whites and colored struggle to cohabitate in the country. In the present day, though there are no more wars among races, cultural diversity still continues to be a sensitive issue among citizens of the United States. I had reviewed two essays with regards to the issue of cultural diversity in the country.
One is by Susan Brady Konig entitled “They’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”. It is about how children in preschool are introduced to the issue of cultural diversity. Another essay I had read is “Do I Look Like Public Enemy Number One?” by Lorraine Ali. The essay is about a young American girl of Arabic descent. She is being judged and scrutinized because of her race rather by her own personality and behavior thus growing up; she was ashamed of her Arabic ancestry.
These two essays address how race is being defined by most people in America. How people of color are alienated because of their cultural backgrounds. Though victims may be American citizens themselves, still they are judged for the color of their skin, hair or ethnicity rather than by who they truly are.
This paper aims to analyze how cultural diversity is defined in America. Through the use of rhetorical devices such as ethos, logos, pathos, purpose and diction the two essays I had read and reviewed will be fully evaluated.
Generalizing People: Ethos on Cultural Diversity
Ethos is used to illustrate the guiding principle or values that describe a group of people, state or ideology. Most white Americans believe that people of color are considered foreigners even if they were breed, born and raised in the United States like most white American. This ideology brings conflict to the society for it separates people according to their hair and skin color, religious and moral beliefs and their races and ancestry in general.
In Konig’s essay, she pointed out that the issue of cultural diversity is introduced to children as early as their preschool days. Teachers may be culturally biased and such bias might be transferred to young toddlers if they are not careful. Kids at ages two or three years old may not fully understand the issue. They may misunderstand the concept. This becomes very dangerous for the misconception of cultural diversity may stain relationships and outlooks on races.
In “They’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”, Konig pointed out at the end of her essay that a young dark haired girl became an outcast. Two blonde haired young girls did not include her in their circle because she was different. It is this result that we can attest that the efforts of the school and teachers to highlight and teach cultural diversity to children failed.
In Ali’s essay, the writer aired out her sentiments on growing up as an Arabic woman in the United States. She was constantly ridiculed and pre-judged because of her ethnicity. She pointed out that her sister suffered from teachers in school.
“During roll call on her first day of junior high, Lela was made to sit through a twenty-minute lecture about the bloodshed and barbarism of Arabs towards Israel and the world: (Ali, 50 – 54).
Ideologies may influence a person but it is the person’s decision to adopt what he had learned from such ideologies. Stereotyping seemed to be very common in the American society where different races generalize one another, forgetting that each individual is different in their own way.
Logos is defined as the argument in the field of rhetoric. Both essays presented depicted the misconceptions of cultural diversity. People tend to judge a person through his or her own ethnicity. It is very common in the American society that people of color are judged by the actions of a few bad ones. They are the victims for they are not seen through clearly by the society, mostly composing of white people.
In Konig’s essay the discrimination among races and cultures are introduced as early as two years old. The introduction of the issue of cultural diversity among toddlers as the writer pointed out was mismanaged by the facilitators thus children, though they became aware of the differences among each other, became divided because of such differences.
The point is further exemplified by Ali’s essay where the writer pointed out that as a child she had trouble embracing her ethnicity because of hearsays. Being of Arabic descent became a burden for her because of what people say about her culture. Arabs are no longer seen as individual human beings who can feel pain but rather as people who are bad and heartless. People of Arabic descent are seen as people who terrorize the “good” white Americans.
Emotional Appeals of the Essays
Pathos is a technique of writers to capture or appeal to the emotions and feelings of their readers. Analyzing how the two authors captured my emotional attention I can say their approaches are both very personal. It is their personal experiences that made me empathize with them and the subject matter. I can feel the annoyance Konig felt when her daughter’s preschool teacher pressed on about their ethnicity.
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Describing her own sentiments and feelings on the subject matter made me empathize with her. On the other hand, Ali’s pain of hiding her ancestry was epitomized by her story telling. She had managed to capture my attention when she briefly summarized her life growing up as a woman of Middle Eastern descent.
Culturally Aware of Actions
The purposes of the two essays were clear. Both authors wanted to express their sentiments on the issue of cultural diversity. Konig expressed that schools generally teach students things the teachers wish to impart which are usually personal biases among cultures. By doing so students develop a sense of knowing where they belong. This leads to discrimination and division in the long run.
Ali on the other hand wanted to impart to her readers that because of how the American society depicts a certain culture through the actions of a few, they tend to generalize the whole which outcasts the most people who have done nothing wrong. Cultural diversity has affected lives of people and these two women write examples of their own personal experiences. One tells the story of how misleading school systems are in teaching the said issue another writes about how she lived with constant judgment of her ancestry.
The Writers Point of Views
In writing their essays, both authors wrote in a very personal style. They used easy to understand words and instilled conversations from their experiences. Konig told her story like a master story teller by inserting dialogues in her essay. She brought her characters to life with actual conversations such as:
“We’re native New Yorkers.”
“But where are your people from?”
“Well,” I dive in with a sigh. “My family is originally Irish in both sides. My husband’s father was from Czechoslovakia and his mother is from the Bronx, but her grandparents were from Ukraine.” (Konig,46 – 48)
She managed to put some emotions into dialogues to give readers a feel of what the characters’ emotions are. On the other hand, Ali did the same thing in her essay where she would occasionally make the characters of her essay talk.
It was interesting how she gave a brief background and history of the Arabic culture where she explained some jargons such as Haja and Hajia as she would refer to her grandparents. She explained in her essay that those two worlds are given to people who have completed a religious journey to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Ali provides her readers a glimpse of her own culture which I personally like.
The essays I had analyzed talked about cultural diversity in the American society. As early as in their preschool days, children are already taught about the issue of diversity but the biases of teachers are passed on to students thus children are divided according to their ethnicity.
The result of such leads to the constant generalization of races where identities of individuals are based on the racial groups they belong to. The authors’ styles in illustrating their points to the readers are quite simple as they approach readers by telling their personal experiences to hook the readers.
Ali, Lorraine. “Do I Look Like Public Enemy Number One?” Mirror on America: Essays and Images from Popular Culture. Ed. Joan Mims and Elizabeth Nollen. America: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2011. 50-54. Print.
Konig, Susan Brady. “They’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” Mirror on America: Essays and Images from Popular Culture. Ed. Joan Mims and Elizabeth Nollen. America: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2011. 46-48. Print.