Dirty dago: my mother at 6.

Keira Dodd
Lakewood, OH

My Italian grandmother came here in 1956 on the Andrea Doria, and my mother only knew one sentence of English (“I have to pee”) when she first went to school. She got called names and ostracized for her “otherness.” I remember that when I think of how different immigrant cultures are treated now. Each new “race” that immigrates is feared and denigrated when they first arrive. However, the ones who have whiter skin tend to blend in better than the others, which is why only a few generations later, I’m considered to be fully American. and no one asks where my family is from. This process isn’t fair to the other immigrant populations who aren’t able to “assimilate” so easily… and it’s a shame that “assimilation” is the goal, when all cultures have things to offer the great melting pot experiment that is America.

 

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