Genres: Autobiography; Memoir; Nonfiction; Cultural
Publication date: March 22, 2022
Arce, who came to live in Texas from Mexico at age 11, shares the story of her assimilation to America, learning English, losing her culture, making money while undocumented and working on Wall Street, and the inevitable scars that came from pursuing an ever-moving goal post. She interweaves current political events and Latinx history into personal stories, covering topics including racism, cultural identity, money, friendships, and love. Arce’s goals are two-fold: by sharing her experiences she wants to encourage other people of color to recognize who they are is more than enough to be American, and she believes more visibility and representation of the Latinx experience will force people to recognize Hispanics as the Americans they are, rather than outsiders.
Rejecting Assimilation will address the issue of trying to be American without losing culture, and explore the positive effects and importance of recognizing yourself in the culture that surrounds you.
For the first eleven years of my life, the pieces of my cultural identity were not spread across boarders. I was a Mexican in Mexico. If I ever felt like I didn’t belong at school, it was not because I was ethnically different. The culture was mine. I was Mexican with no quote marks.Chapter One
This is not a story that was written for me. It’s not a story or a narrative with a white audience in mind. It’s not written as a way to get a white person to understand their privileges or the struggles the Mexican people have and continue to face on a daily basis. And that’s why I loved it.
This story is raw. It’s hard to read and it’s heartbreaking. It’s a tale of racism and suppression. Of forgetting yourself in an attempt at belonging when you’re never going to be a perfect fit anyways. And it comes with receipts.
Arce’s story is one that I’ll never be able to relate to. But that doesn’t stop this story from being an incredibly impactful one. There’s not very much focus on the struggles the Mexican population in America faces, it’s just another thing that’s been swept under the rug.
Instead of going on about how this story impacted me, I’m going to leave you with this:
You should read this book. You will almost certainly feel uncomfortable while reading it. You will almost certainly want to put it down and go on with your life, pretending that everything is okay. Get over yourself. This book is not for you or to make you to feel comfortable – especially not if you’re a white person who picks this story up. It’s about the truth and history and making sure the world becomes a better place.