African-Americans, Mexican-American, Asia-American, etc. all have their own definition of American Identity, but they all in some way correlate with the idea of American Identity. When two different writers, with two different writing styles and technique, write two different pieces, what will happen when both are defining what American Identity means to them? ‘In Response to Executive Order 9006’, by Dwight Okita and ‘Mericans’, by Sandra Cisneros have very distinctive differences but many similarities. Both Okita and Cisneros dwell on the topic of American Identity.
By using certain techniques and writing styles, Okita expresses what American Identity is to them. Okita’s poem tells that you have to act american to be american. When they write,’I feel funny using chopsticks’. Many american’s associate chopsticks with Asians but Okita doesn’t like to use chopsticks, and then goes onto say that their favorite food is hot dogs, a traditional american meal. This poem was written during the war that was between Japan and the United States, Japanese-Americans were discriminated against because they were Japanese, even if they weren’t born in Japan or had no part in the war..they were treated poorly. Okita wrote this as a response to an Executive order signed and created by former president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. This order was made so that Japanese people would have to relocate back to Japan even if you were born in America. Roosevelt thought what he was doing was protecting America as a whole and not as a singular race. Okita was trying to describe themselves as more american than Japanese. By giving details like they don’t really like using chopsticks or how out of all Japanese foods out there they chose a basic american dish, hot dogs, They are trying to convince the reader that they are your normal, average AMERICAN child. Cisneros had a different approach to the idea of what american identity is to them.
Cisneros was more focused on the look aspect of American Identity. This means to be American you have to look “American”. Cisneros gives a small story, that a white lady wants to take a photo of her older brother, she had offered him gum in spanish, and then her older brother proceeded to ask Cisneros and their younger brother if they had wanted gum in English. What this means is whoever the lady was assumed they spoke spanish because of what they look like. The lady is described to speak spanish that is “too big for her mouth”, this leads me to believe the lady was speaking botched spanish. Cisneros one specific word, “Mericans” an abbreviation for Mexican-Americans. Is she Mexican-American because of the way she looks or is it because of the way she acts.
Although they have their differences they also have their similarities. Both authors touch on the idea of how every white american sees them. They see them as japanese and harmful or mexican and not being able to speak english. They see it as if you don’t act like them then they don’t want you.
In conclusion, both american is whatever you feel that it is, like okita and cisneros. They are both impeccable writers, with different ideas.