Tag Archives: Identity

All the Stories That We (Were) Told

By Nora Benitt

Pixar’s Rules of Sto­ry­telling by Pro­found Whatever

Life writ­ing – which includes a wide spec­trum of sub-gen­res such as (auto)biography, mem­oir, let­ter, diary, (dig­i­tal) life sto­ries, and oral his­to­ries – has a long tra­di­tion in the U.S. and is becom­ing more and more pop­u­lar all over the world. An abun­dance of arti­facts com­piled by famous, semi-famous, and not-at-all-famous peo­ple fill pub­lic libraries, pri­vate book­shelves, research cen­ters, social media, hard dri­ves, and web­sites. And that’s actu­al­ly not even sur­pris­ing since writ­ing and/or talk­ing about our­selves is a deeply root­ed cul­tur­al prac­tice and comes very nat­u­ral­ly to most human beings. We do it all the time: We tell a sig­nif­i­cant some­one how our day was, we put togeth­er our résumé when apply­ing for a new job, we talk about child­hood mem­o­ries with sib­lings or a close friend. How­ev­er, talk­ing and writ­ing about our­selves in an aca­d­e­m­ic con­text and, to boot, in a for­eign lan­guage is a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent story.

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More than Just a Novel: Nic Stone’s Dear Martin

By Sabrina Völz

It’s been near­ly 52 years since Dr. Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. was assas­si­nat­ed on April 4, 1968. With­out a doubt, he con­tin­ues to inspire new gen­er­a­tions and serve as a role mod­el for non-vio­lent protest and change. In hon­or of Black His­to­ry Month in Feb­ru­ary, I’d like to review a young adult nov­el that brings the con­ver­sa­tion on racism and grow­ing up Black in the Unit­ed States to a new lev­el. It inves­ti­gates whether King’s teach­ings are still rel­e­vant today and whether they can help Jys­tice, a 17-year-old, promis­ing high school stu­dent. His life is turned upside down when he tries to help his intox­i­cat­ed ex-girl­friend get home safe­ly one night. In a con­fronta­tion with two police offi­cers, Jys­tice ends up on the ground in hand­cuffs – an all-too-famil­iar sight. The prob­lem: She’s White and he’s Black. As a result of the assault, Jys­tice will nev­er be the per­son he once was.

Nic Stone’s debut nov­el, Dear Mar­tin (2017), inter­weaves the top­ics of racial pro­fil­ing, police bru­tal­i­ty, black­face, col­or­blind racism, micro-aggres­sions, and act­ing ‘White’ with ques­tions of iden­ti­ty, friend­ship, and inter­ra­cial rela­tion­ships. With that list, you might just ask your­self how the author still man­ages to tell a good sto­ry with­out get­ting too dis­tract­ed and preachy. Well, she does. But before explor­ing the top­ic fur­ther, I’ll let Nic Stone intro­duce the book in her own words.

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More Than Just a Blurred Ethnic Identity: Teaching German American Day

By Andreas Hübner

It is one of the found­ing myths of “Ger­man Amer­i­cana” that the first migrants from Ger­man-speak­ing ter­ri­to­ries arrived on Octo­ber 6, 1683, on North Amer­i­can soil. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, Ger­man Amer­i­cans have always sought to cel­e­brate this par­tic­u­lar date in order to pro­mote and to secure Ger­man Amer­i­can tra­di­tions and inter­ests. Such cel­e­bra­tions, for­mer­ly often called “Ger­man Day,” flour­ished dur­ing the 19th cen­tu­ry and ceased after the world wars. After the 1983 tri­cen­ten­ni­al, Ger­man Amer­i­can stake­hold­ers were able to revive and to con­tin­ue the cel­e­bra­tions: On August 18, 1987, Con­gress approved a joint res­o­lu­tion to des­ig­nate Octo­ber 6, 1987, as Ger­man-Amer­i­can Day.

Since that time, most Amer­i­can pres­i­dents have issued annu­al procla­ma­tions to cel­e­brate the achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions of Ger­man Amer­i­cans to our Nation with appro­pri­ate cer­e­monies, activ­i­ties, and pro­grams. Also, Ger­man Amer­i­can soci­eties have tak­en on the ‘task’ and includ­ed annu­al Ger­man-Amer­i­can Day cel­e­bra­tions into their cal­en­dars, often in com­bi­na­tion with the famous Oktoberfest.

Source: Pitts­burg Dis­patch, 17 Sept. 1891. Chron­i­cling Amer­i­ca: His­toric Amer­i­can News­pa­pers. Library of Con­gress, accessed: Sept. 24, 2020,  <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024546/1891–09-17/ed‑1/seq‑8/>

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