Sharmila Sen ( kindle ) Not uite Not White

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S and code switching Sen offers new angles to the debate on race and immigration with emotional honesty humor and thoughtful criticism Sen discovers her eventual acceptance of her not whiteness is actually what makes her American and as a mother of three not white American children looking at their own possible future Sen brings the reader of Not uite Not White to imagine how America might by the end of the century end up being defined outside its borders in a new diaspor This was a fascinating book to me I cannot pretend that I know what being an immigrant is like or someone who isn t white This book opens a window into that worldThere are a lot of parallels between Indian caste and American race but it was interesting to learn that race isn t something that really exists in India Having grown up in the US I had never thought of India being in Asia but of course it isA thought provoking book

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Not uite Not White

A memoir manifesto about race immigration and assimilation; how an Indian American woman navigated through her journey into the heart of not whitenessWhen Sen emigrated from India to the US in 1982 at the age of 12 she was asked to self report her race Never identifying with a race previously she rejects her new not uite white designation and spends much of her life attempting to become white in the American sense After her teen years trying to adapt to American culture i A bold and candid immigrant manifesto Sen arrived the US with her parents from India when she was twelve Refused to be identified as a FOB fresh off the boat Sen cast off her Bengali self and immersed in striving to achieve whiteness She went to public school in Cambridge Mass aced it with much hard work and creative ways to learn American English and was chosen class valedictorian the next year Entered Harvard after high school later got her PhD in English literature from Yale then taught at Harvard A model immigrant Maybe but Sen discovered the underlying problems with such a term Through her journey of adaptation and assimilation she had learned that she would always remain Not White and that no matter how much she tried to transform herself she would always be Not uite The duality of being both an insider and an outsider prescribed her identity amounting to tormenting contradictions and internal conflicts Sen s 191 page book is daringly honest risking accusations of being an ungrateful immigrant and laying out issues and uestions that may be impossible to resolve But it s not all arguments Sen s detailing her childhood years in Bengali and her later adaptation to American life is intimate and revealing Once in America the everyday challenges are like waves too strong for one to stay afloat She had a hard time dealing with the bombardment of uestions when she as a newly arrived immigrant went with her grade 7 class to see the movie Gandhi Here s an excerpt that further extends that conflicting voice as she became an adultI avoided watching movies about India such as Salaam Bombay Slumdog Millionaire or The Lunchbox with white Americans The sincere conversations over a cappuccino or a glass of wine that inevitably following such movies were dreadful for me I was expected to discuss human rights the poverty of slums the plight of untouchables child marriage and widow burning I had to play native informant as well as the assimilated immigrant My presence completed the cosmopolitan experience for my white friends and reassured them of their own open mindedness generosity of spirit liberal politics and cultural superiority And my cheeks hurt from smiling through it allIn light of recent tragic events of racially driven extreme violence and unreined expressions of hatred it s crucial that we try to listen if only just to make an effort to understand one person And Sen is a most apt voice in articulating one immigrant s personal journey and the challenges she faces now that she s a mother raising the next generation

Sharmila Sen É 6 Free read

Ncluding watching General Hospital and The Jeffersons and perfecting recipes with Campbell's soup or Jell O Sen is forced to reckon with hard uestions what does it mean to be white who is allowed to be white why does whiteness retain the power of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness Exploring hot button topics such as passing cultural appropriation class ineuality bias within Indian immigrant communitie From the evocative memories of her genteel bhadralok childhood in Calcutta to each stage of navigating the model immigrant experience in the USA of the 80s this is an insightful and moving memoir of a journey of discovery of self as much as culture and race


10 thoughts on “Not uite Not White

  1. says:

    In this memoir Sharmila Sen uses her experience of immigrating from India to the US to explore notions of race and whitenes

  2. says:

    A bold and candid 'immigrant manifesto' Sen arrived the US with her parents from India when she was twelve Refused to be identified as a FOB 'fresh off the boat' Sen cast off her Bengali self and immersed in striving to achieve 'whiteness' She went to public school in Cambridge Mass aced it with much hard work and creati

  3. says:

    As a Bostonian a light skinned Middle Eastern American a grandchild and great grandchild of immigrants someone who had to “tell my teacher the correct way to pronounce my name at the beginning of each school yea

  4. says:

    HIGHLY recommendedThis memoirmanifesto about race identity and immigration is so good and I'm so glad I read it The author's story is incredibly interesting because when she immigrated at the age of 12 she went from being part of the dominant culture in India to being a minority in the United States and she had to learn about race as part of her assimilation process There is a lot in this slim volume about the author'

  5. says:

    This book really hit home Sen's descriptions of the particularities and angst of being Not uite Not White are sharp and astute and compelled me to reconsider and reframe some of the experiences I've had growing up Indo Canad

  6. says:

    From the evocative memories of her genteel bhadralok childhood in Calcutta to each stage of navigating the model immigrant experience in the USA of the ‘80s this is an insightful and moving memoir of a journey of discovery of self as much as culture and race

  7. says:

    Sen narrates her journey from a very privileged life in India to that of a minority immigrant in Massachusetts From the age of 12 race become

  8. says:

    This was an enjoyable interesting and uick read I loved the parts of her story based in Calcutta I felt transported by her multi sensory desc

  9. says:

    This was a fascinating book to me I cannot pretend that I know what being an immigrant is like or someone who isn’t white This book opens a window into that worldThere are a lot of parallels between Indian caste and American race but it was interesting to learn that race isn’t something that really exists in India Having grown up in the

  10. says:

    Sharmila Sen's personal account of her discovery of race and commitment to recognizing herself not as a POC but as Not White as a first gen immigrant to the US She takes us from her Bengali childhood through her American studenthoo