Often, people of color feel as if the only way they are to succeed is by rejecting their identity completely, or “code-switching” which means to downplay certain aspects of their identity. For example, black people refraining from using African American Vernacular English around their white counterparts in order to assimilate into white culture, as seen in ABC television show Black-ish where Dre’s son Jack is made aware of the difference between using the n-word around other black people and public, or even in the Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, where the main character Gogol tries for so long to ignore his Bengali heritage, to the point of being embarrassed by his parents enough to not want them to meet his white girlfriend, Maxine. This struggle or sense of duality or “two-ness” is defined by W.E.B. Du Bois as double consciousness. In his essay The Souls of Black Folk he discusses the idea that African Americans, and by extension all people of color experience a kind of “double c...
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...ds them, in accents they are accustomed not to trust” (Lahiri 108). This too is a form of double-consciousness as both Ashoke and Ashima are aware of the loss of culture, of their own identity in their children as their children shun India and by extension Bengali culture, and no longer sound like the people they miss and love back in Calcutta. It is extremely sad, because in order to make a better life for themselves and for their family they came to America, but because of the search for opportunity, they also lost their sense of identity in their children even though they tried their hardest to create a kind of Bengali community in America as well. Quietly, unlike Dre, Ashoke, more than Ashima comes to understand that he cannot push his culture upon his children, especially Gogol, and instead allows Gogol to navigate being Bengali and being American, for himself.
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