In her essay “Being an Other” Melissa Algranati talks about how she didn’t know what race category she belonged to because of her ethnic background. Algranati’s father was born in Alexandria, Egypt and her mother was born in Maniti, Puerto Rico. She is a product of marriage, and her race is a Puerto Rican Egyptian Jew. She explains how her upbringing was different because of her parents’ different racial barriers. Algranati’s supports her issue and also gives emotional appeal about her childhood. By being different because she is a blend of multiple cultures Algranati and her parents had to face reality of growing up with a different ethnic background in America society.
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Algranati has a strong tone because she explains how she was faced with challenging her ethnicity. She really didn’t know what category she fell under from her being a mixture of races. “It was not until I took the standardized PSAT exam that I was confronted with the question: Who am I? (667). She was intertwined up and distraught because of herself identity. She felt lost because this was a moment of realization and there are a lot of issues circulating behind her race and ethnicity. Essentially, the only way she could classify herself was choosing “other”. When being intertwined in not knowing where you belong in society can be a great burden on someone. Furthermore, she’s really left with trying to figure out her true identity. Algranati connects with the reader by helping them understand her viewpoint of growing up in America with a different cultural background. With so many duel citizenships, because of parents from different traditions , life becomes complicated for Algranati and her family. “The only problem was that the difference in language and social status led “real” Americans not to consider them citizens” (668). With American society becoming more developed, the next generation is becoming programmed into thinking that certain cultures are below others, therefore confusing them and making them feel like they don’t belong. Algranati not only was from two different ethnicities but she had to deal with the humiliations and discrimination with her Puerto Rican and Jewish Heritage .Nevertheless, the issues behind color and a diverse background run very deep.
Algranati states, that her mother was called a “white Hispanic” because of her outer appearance. She also says that once her mother’s English improved, no one even noticed her true nationality unless she told them (669). People are quick to judge one another from the color of one’s skin. There are a lot of issues circulating behind race and ethnicity. For a country that is all about diversity and equal rights, it seems some cultures have an unfair advantage over others because of their cultural background. While a lot of immigrants feel they are being mistreated and denied opportunity to be a U.S. citizen, some children of different cultures feel they are being forced to suppress their ethnic backgrounds, to fit in with the dominating race in our society.
The writer uses highly emotional language by describing how she was accepted in American society and later was rejected because of her cultural differences. In other words, Algranati was mistaken for another race. She states, how she was accepted by her friend’s father like a daughter until he realized her true uniqueness (670).Immigrants, end up becoming disliked and singled out because of their skin color or ethnicity. Because Algranati is of a different origin doesn’t mean that she should be treated unequal, no one wants to be separated from their social life. As a society most fear the unknown, but with everything changing drastically there is a lot of unknown. Society is already struggling when it comes to social class. Unfortunately, the disputes about race and where someone thinks you belong in society are very cruel because everyone just wants the best opportunities for survival. America is the land of the free, and no one should be denied the freedom to live a better life.
With multicultural marriages giving way to mixed children, the families are being caught in the cross fire. Algranati may have been faced with different issues but in the end she embraced who she is. She may have not been an “All American Girl” but she has a place within society as a Puerto Rican Egyptian Jew. Life is a journey, no one wants to be singled out or treated cruelly because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity, but it happens practically every day. As far as this world has come, people still deal with race and social acceptance. Until society realizes, that the value of life is honesty and respect for one another, there will always be friction. When will this society be all about love and compassion for one another? As human beings, all are created equally, so really no race is higher than the other. Society needs to learn how to support one another and learn to get along with each other. Most people want to be loved; if people learn to appreciate others not based on their outer appearance then society will be a much better place. Algranati, Melissa. “Being an Other” from Becoming American, Becoming Ethnic: College Students Explore Their Roots, Ed Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford, 2012. 667- 671. Print.