You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation

Flatiron. Mar. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9781250787019. $27.99. SOC SCI
Many immigrants to the United States adopt the dominant white culture in order to fit in, but with her latest work, Arce (My [Underground] American Dream) calls on immigrants to reject the urge to assimilate and retain their culture and traditions. She believes that assimilation discourages people of color from creating their own spaces because they are striving for an unattainable “American dream” and to become more acceptable to white Americans. Arce describes her own experience as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico to argue that assimilation promotes and enforces white supremacy. In particular, she reveals that learning “unaccented” American English and finding a well-paying job did not make her feel like she was an American. In fact, Arce argues, assimilation to the dominant culture can be weaponized against impoverished or otherwise disadvantaged immigrants, which can promote harmful narratives. Arce also discusses topics such as whiteness in Mexican culture, the history of Mexicans in what is now the United States, legal immigration pathways, and cultural appropriation. Finally, she calls on immigrants to reclaim their history and celebrate their unique communities and contributions.
VERDICT A necessary counterpoint to the narrative of the American dream. Recommended for readers interested in immigrant experiences.
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