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

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

Julissa Arce. Flatiron, $27.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-78701-9

In this persuasive polemic, journalist Arce (Someone Like Me) draws on her experiences as an undocumented Mexican immigrant to encourage Latinx people to “dismantl[e] the lie of assimilation to reclaim the most essential and beautiful parts of ourselves, our history, and our culture.” Noting that she used “fake papers” to obtain a job at Goldman Sachs and became a citizen 20 years after she first arrived in the U.S., Arce contends that “assimilating to ‘American’ culture really mean[s] imitating white America,” and that “even after I learned English, became a citizen, got my coins, I still wasn’t welcomed.” She cites many historical examples of discrimination against Mexican Americans, including the segregation of Latinx students in public schools, the banning of bilingual education programs, and the denial of birth certificates to the children of undocumented parents. Arce also contends that the blame for the decline in blue-collar jobs in America lies not with undocumented workers but with “corporate greed,” and details the lack of Latinx representation in U.S. politics and popular culture. She urges Latinx people to promote their own culture, history, and identities as fully American, and to support other communities of color in the fight for equality. This impassioned call for change rings true. (Mar.)