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How Did You Get to Be Mexican?: A White/Brown Man's Search for Identity Hardcover – January 28, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
Contradictions run wild in Kevin Johnson's autobiographical account of growing up racially mixed and emotionally mixed up. On one page, he rightly laments racial pigeonholing. On the next, he paints a painfully detailed picture of someone's racial history and physical features. The book is replete with mixed heritage characters who "identify" publicly with the racial tradition of one parent over that of another.
At first this approach left me frustrated (maybe I yearned for transcendence). But soon I realized that Johnson could hardly tell his story otherwise: the contradictions are not his but society's. Such is the sad - indeed the surreal - state of America's racial politics.
However sad and surreal race relations indeed may be, books like Johnson's represent a breakthrough of sorts for diversity and understanding. For most of our nation's history, dispossessed individuals were truly silenced - either by poverty or outright discrimination. As society began to allow different voices to emerge, pure outsiders got most of the attention. Now people like Johnson, who inhabits what the book jacket calls "the borderlands between racial identities," are receiving the call to tell their stories.
Before I run on any longer, I should reveal some modest secrets of my own.Read more ›
To be embarrassingly honest, I had never heard of Kevin Johnson until he reviewed my book for the Journal of American History. Wanting to know the scholars who reviewed me, I purchased and read this book. I whole heartedly recommend this work to any mixed race individual, as well as to any academic working in the fields of racial construction, Latino history, or even those studying recent US History in general.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an interesting book where the author relates his own life experience and all that he goes through growing up in a mixed Latino-Anglo Family. Read morePublished on April 10, 2007 by Maria T. Pereda
: I loved Johnson's book and his story. I found myself saying to myself, "that happened to me too". I would say "yeah, that's totally true" and "he's right on". Read morePublished on October 18, 2006 by Ian Holland
I had to read this book for a perspectives on race and ethnicity class, contrasting it with a book of a similar theme. Read morePublished on May 31, 2004
I am an American born Hispanic, from a large family. Like a great percentage of families in this country, my siblings and children have married non-Hispanic partners, thus we have... Read morePublished on August 11, 1999