It is possible to discuss a country and be able to define its culture, except when discoursing on America. America is a melting pot of nations and the individual cultures that have relocated here. Men, women, children and families have come to seek freedom from persecution or to seek opportunity that does not exist in their own country of origin. Living in America and being Black, Latino or Chinese may cause a duality of identity that makes a covenant impossible. You are told to speak English, go to college, become educated and be more than your parents were, yet you want to retain the culture of your youth. Your own family is telling you to change; it becomes a battle of soul. Your culture intertwines with the education you receive and it is problematic to distinguish who you are.
Three pieces of literature show how difficult it is to deal with this duality: “A Red Sweater” by Fae Myenne Ng, “America” by Claude McKay and “Spanish Roulette” by Ed Vega. Each piece is different, each has its own voice, yet each speak of duality and the frustration it brings trying to unite one world with another, being an American and trying to maintain your cultural identity.
What is life as a Latino man in America? Ed Vega writes that it is “Spanish Roulette,” the somewhat futile desire to accept the duality of living two cultures. Spanish roulette is taking the chance to live life differently, to live outside the walls, outside the culture, to make the break, face the pain, and, ultimately to become who you want to be. Sixto reflects on the dichotomy that is his life. “You were born and tagged with a funny-ass Spanish name. Then you were told to speak English, be cool, to imitate the Anglo-Saxon crap because that’s where all the money and success is. However, in your mother’s home, the place where you received your mother’s milk, you were told to speak Spanish, taught to defend your honor and those of the women around you” (Vega 573).
Sixto Andrade, the young...