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Ethnic uniqueness property is a dream of every existing state. Herewith, multi-ethnicity of the world is accepted as a trait of mankind which is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. However, in the recent decades, a different view has formed, according to which all people are moving towards a state that can be characterized as universal superethnos. This superethnos provides special mechanisms that remove ethnic differentiation leading to its blurring and causing the humanity to start living in one rhythm and function as a single global body. Although mankind has already united as a result of belonging to one biological species and owing to the fact of living on one planet, the newly emerging mechanisms have the feature that suggests the union to be formed not only on the biological basis, but rather on the special one – the ethnic. The current paper examines chapter 15 and the stories of ethnic difference theme.
The first story named “A Different Mirror” is written by Ronald Takaki, a professor and Chair of the Department of ethnic studies at the University of California, who raises the question of history and its ability to be a mirror. The process of familiarizing with the past is essential for each person, because as the author states, the study of the past can provide collective self-knowledge, and moreover, the history of mankind repeats its cycle (Takaki 542). These days, some historical events tend to repeat, but in a modified form. History shows the inability to change the past for people to wonder how to build their future. The same applies to the issue of ethnic differences. The article “A Different Mirror” shows a lot of statements about its main topic. “Demographic diversity” is a question of a lot of discussions and historical events that should be learned and discussed in order not to repeat the probles of the past (Takaki 540). Furthermore, it is necessary to look in the history as in the mirror to gain the understanding of the ways of solving the problems with regard to the question of ethnic difference.
The second story “Jasmine” is written by Bharati Mukherjee, a teacher of English at the University of California. It tells about new wonderful life of its main character – a girl from Port-of-Sand, Trinidad, known as an island stuck in the middle of nowhere (Mukherjee 550). There is a vivid comparison of the life in Trinidad and Detroit. The latter is full of new and alluring things, while the former is too small for “a girl with ambition” (Mukherjee 550). Along with the new opportunities and prospects that foreshadowed the new life, there were also a lot of unexpected discoveries and shocks for Jasmine in Detroit. For example, according to the story, for the first time in her life she was working for a black man (Mukherjee 550). Even though that was really sudden for her, she understood that there was nothing extraordinary in this situation. The new place of living reveals to Jasmine the fact that Americans would not show any understand regarding keeping servants, and that children are “mother’s helpers” (Mukherjee 554). It was also rather strange for Jasmine to celebrate New Year in Detroit thinking about how people celebrate this holiday in summer clothes (Mukherjee 554). Overall, everything was all right, except being a little bit strange. All of the above mentioned examples demonstrate that there are different people in all countries, including kind and wicked, fair and selfish etc. This implies that it is not only the ethnic difference that makes people different, but also their own character and behavior. Moreover, the story shows that the ethnic difference is by no means a block for feelings and emotions.
>The third story called “Snapshots” is written by Helena Maria Viramontes, a teacher at Cornell University, who argues that all snapshots steal the souls of the people (Viramontes 561). Here we encounter Mrs. Ruiz, a character who is addicted to nostalgia because of snapshots, as well as her daughter who tries to make her mother to get interested in some hobby. Nonetheless, Mrs. Ruiz is fully immerged in snapshots and all her life is only a memory. Snapshot really can be characterized the imprint of the soul, like a book is the imprint of the author’s soul. Paper or digital media by themselves are harmless; the man does not bring harm to the very existence of the media, especially when one looks at the pictures, that is, when the person remembers about someone. Snapshots should give people the opportunity to understand their existence at the present tense. The story “Snapshots” by Helena Maria Viramontes encourages people to think about the originality and the value of the present moment.
The next story named “Between the Pool and Gardenias” is written by Edwidge Danticat and raises a question of physical differences among the people, namely the color of skin, and its influence on different life situations. The narrator had a desire to do some good for somebody that caused her to bring a little baby to her house and to try to take care about her (Danticat 564). The child’s skin color was of no importance to her. Sadly, the baby died due to the unknown reason. The story demonstrates the humiliating position of the narrator telling the story of her husband and his ten different babies with ten different women (Danticat 564). The above mentioned makes it really clear why this humble woman carried a child at home. She tries to be useful, needful and indispensable for somebody, which may be the main reason of telling her life stories to the little child.