Although most ethnic groups do not like to be thought of as different, they do come to enjoy the benefits that come with being labeled as a minority. Affirmative action is a program initiated to try and bridge the gap between white Americans and the minorities that reside in America. In addition, bilingual education is constantly an issue in Southern California, especially when choosing political candidates. In the two books I will be examining, Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, both characters in the stories are criticized by their own ethnic groups for not following the path that their parents have laid out for them. Protag, the main character in Invisible Man, chooses to join an organization called the Brotherhood, instead of a similar organization which is made up of all black men. Rodriguez decides to take a stand against affirmative action and bilingual education, two issues which Hispanics have almost always been in favor of. However, the decisions by these two characters to go against the values widely held by members of their ethnic groups causes a great deal of tension. People want to question how devoted the characters are to the cause. Both characters went against the norm and made choices which brought criticism from members of their ethnic groups, but their choices ultimately led to the strengthening of their groups culture in society. First we will look at what may have influenced the character's choices, followed by the designation of being labeled a scholarship boy may have played in their decisions. Finally we will look at what exactly they did for their ethnic group and some of the differences that exist between the two characters. .
Upon his arrival in Harlem after his dismissal from college, Protag became aware of the two groups that were concerned with changing the social conditions in New York City. The first group was led by Ras the Exhorter and was a much more radical group.