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This paper analyzes the book by Susan Wyle Revisiting America: Readings in race, culture, and conflict in terms of its major themes. The review presupposes the approach toward a particular way for studying in the American schools with multinational and multicultural peculiarities. The author follows the prospects of efficiency and effectiveness in education due to the current observation of the social coloring of the class. The book is compiled in the form of different stories which are related to the problem of ethical, cultural, and social features as of teaching in a contemporary US school. Such ideal is taken to make the educational process for most students and teachers more appropriate, convenient, and with an extent of mutual understanding between a teacher and students.
The diversity in the social and societal background of the United States cannot go without the trends for the historical basis of the nation. According to Wyle (2004) is hard to say that the formation of the American nation is considered with the definite nationality settled on the land. Hence, the historical framework plays a major role in understanding the place of different nationalities being apparent for modern America.
The teaching process, regarding the author, should be implemented in the right and enlightened formulation, i.e. love and patience in a teacher which can be then projected with the same inclinations on the class and each student respectively. The sculpture of historical barriers and unfair attitudinal framework between the ethnic entities of the US is reflected in the book by Wyle with a rational approach toward placing primary and secondary details as race, culture, and conflict.
The methodology and means for teaching which is described by Susan Wyle in the book are considered to be the way out for such outrageous and unstable situations in American schools. The thing is that the cases when violence and terror are present in the domain of education are outlined as the minor attention of teachers on students not only in their educational capabilities but also in terms of their personal growth in behavior and understanding life. In this respect, the struggles of racial and cultural format are happening in present America, as it was in past America. This occurs in terms of the decline of patience and understanding the amenities which each culture contributed into the whole “melting pot”, meaning the United States.
The book gives more points grounded on particular examples as of how in contemporary society of the US a teacher should provide the ideals for orderliness, for example. Furthermore, the parallel with the historical observation is discussed in the book. The main conclusion is that Americans have hardly stepped back from the line of constant interracial and intercultural conflicts. Everything remains almost the same in comparison with the American reality some one hundred years ago.
The historical survey maintained in the readings composed in the book promotes more materials about the grace and brevity of the American nation. However, Wyle (2004) collecting all materials admit that the situation over the racial conflicts, in particular, was always the most discussed by politics, economists, social figures, teachers, and ordinary citizens.
This is why the alternative for the conflict is considered by the author to be the power of language owing to which all residents of the country can communicate and provide different virtues for the nation. Thus, the language in terms of its entire power helps direct attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts of individuals toward correct aims. Moreover, language is rather helpful for the wealth and stability of the nation when politics use it in the appropriate form and or appropriate purposes. In other words, the role of the language is characterized by the author as one of the paramount according to the discourse of plurality of cultures and ethnicities as well.
Furthermore, the author according to the conflicts in social relationships of individuals living in the US looks back at the evolution of these somehow striking events for the American nation since the 17th century. Thereupon, there is an assertion that over centuries the significance of race, gender, and culture along with the religious differences were obvious, as the main factors serving for the emergence of conflict situations. Salem witch trials, speeches by Native Americans, journals from the period of the Civil War, and presidential speeches dating back to the 18th century are encountered by a reader in the process of examining the major themes maintained by Susan Wyle in the book (Asp Net World, 2009).
The absurdity of the racial land gender problems as well as other forms of cultural discrimination is seen by the author, as the impulse for the internal ruination of the American society, notwithstanding the first positions in the world arena. In this case, every negative event which happened in the history of the American nation development is concerned by most Americans, Whites particularly, with one more reason for deepening of the conflicts between different ethnicities.
The absurd is represented by Susan Wyle in terms of the disasters of the wartime era and terrorist acts. For instance, Muslims began automatically being similar to potential enemies of the United States after the event of September 11, 2001. African Americans, being the greatest among the minorities living in the US, are also considered to be an incomplete nationality by most White Americans because of their slavery past. Wyle (2004) comments on such wrong presuppositions, as the inherited intentions for impatience. Moreover, some stories in the book show the exact antithesis of suchlike persuasion.
Mark Feldman (2005) comments on the preparation work of Wyle’s book and urges to mention that this was a great challenge which the author successfully underwent: “Through what Susan refers to as “reading around” an issue, students experience multiple perspectives” (2). This idea makes every young reader recognize own place within the rest of the American people. The points on the individuality in tastes and preferences in life are normal, but one should not think of it, as the intention to break down historically shaped and established prerequisites for American unity. It is emphasized with idea that history can teach people how not to be caught by past rubbish of mankind. In this respect, the points on immigration are raised in the book.
Analyzing the whole picture of cultural struggle in the United States in terms of Wyle’s book, Gabbidon & Greene (2009) are intended to admit that “mass immigration from Europe to the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries helps explain the role that culture conflict can play concerning race and crime” (175). Hence, Wyle attempts in her discussion to concentrate a reader’s attention mostly on the effects of suchlike conflicts and the outcomes which are present in reality. People struggle not because they did something bad, but because of their appearance. In fact, such absurdity is detached by the author as the lack of common sense among Americans.
The author also makes a strict assertion that all nationalities which are present in the United States contributed to the national coloring in tastes, fashion, traditions, etc. Thereupon, Wyle (2004) in one of the stories provides the rational approach toward, for instance, the settlement of Irish people which traditions and aesthetical amenities are fairly considered today as American. Such a statement is true due to peculiarities in drinks and food which Americans share.
It concerns the Italian, Japanese, Latin American ethnical groups which also contributed to the domain of cultural priorities for Americans. Nonetheless, Susan Wyle is eager to admit that almost always individuals living in America are narrow-minded to notice the logical chain of amenities that people of America share every day. This assumption grows with each transition from one story to another, especially when the racial issue is highlighted.
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Wallinger (2006) sees the similarity of Wyle’s approach with the Paul Marshall’s Reena and Other Stories (1983), where the themes of the “rampant racism, sexism, and classism” of American people toward the minorities appeared to live in the United States is appropriately evaluated (183). However, Susan Wyle chooses the arguments for the support of her assumptions and statements observed in the book in a rhetorical categorization. In other words, she makes a reader evaluate the reality of the American society in outrageous, but rather true colors. Nevertheless, race classification in the US is a difficult issue that needs more glimpses at the moral and human side of it. Notwithstanding the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and other regulatory mechanisms provided to lessen the effects of racial conflict in the country, people still have problems in understanding each other (Johnson, 2003).
Overall, Susan Wyle encompasses in her book all particular features according to the racial and cultural discrimination promoted due to the lack of tolerance in ethnic relationships. The background for the discussion is the contemporary situation in the United States. Everything which is stated in the Constitution and the Declaration, meaning the rights of Americans, is almost trite due to biases and hatred provided by the majority and minorities inside the country. The complexity of the situation is thought of by Wyle as the main obstacle for further progression of the American nation.
The book makes a reader aware of the current situation in terms of societal and cultural relationships. The language of it is plain and comprehensive. The representation of materials and details for the historical analysis is based on the historical data underlining the most significant and influential events for the USA. The provision of facts colored with the reflections of the author makes reading the book more interesting and actual in accordance with the current process of communication provision between various ethnical groups living in America. Thus, the book is worth reading due to the mastership of Susan Wyle in making burning issues in the American society spiced with more details and discussion for readers who may be involved in this negative process in the society.
Asp Net World. (2009). Web.
Feldman, M. (2005). “Susan Wyle Reisits Revisiting America: Readings in Race, Culture, and Conflict”. Newsletter. Web.
Gabbidon, S. L. & Greene, H. T. (2009). Encyclopedia of Race and Crime. New York: SAGE.
Johnson, K. R. (2003). Mixed race America and the law: a reader. New York: NYU Press.
Wallinger, H. (2006). Transitions: Race, culture, and the dynamics of change. Berlin: LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster.
Wyle, S. (2004). Revisiting America: Readings in race, culture, and conflict. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.