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Racial Self-Loathing And The Americanization Process

            Racial Self-Loathing in the Americanization Process.
             One of the themes common to minority writers of the twentieth century is the concept of Americanization. Sherman Alexie, Americo Paredes, and Toni Morrison each use some form of racial loathing or self-hate in presenting how their particular ethnic group deals with the Americanization process. This paper will examine a novel by each of the aforementioned authors and analyze how each one develops the attitude of self-hate in their characters.
             In Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues a group of Native-Americans form a band and attempt to integrate themselves into mainstream American society. Their talent is ultimately overshadowed by their inability to be acceptable Indians. The attitude and perception of Alexie's characters concerning their identity only borders on self-hate. While he does not have any of the characters display an outright hatred for their race; some of the characters do resent traditional Indian customs. In her article "Native American Culture and Communication through Humor" Charmaine Shutiva asserts that an important element of Native American world is its oral tradition and that a storyteller is present in every Tribe#. While Chess and Thomas embrace the tradition of storytelling, Alexie has Victor and Junior detest it. Victor and Junior's move away from and dislike of a cultural tradition is a result of Americanization. The Americanization process entails the leaving behind of any native culture that does not fit into and enhance one's ability to be "American." Alexie presents a delicate balance is his novel. While none of his characters wish they were not Indian, they do wish to disassociate themselves from some Indian traditions. Thus, the fact that Junior and Victor resent the storytelling by Thomas can be viewed as a loss of cultural awareness and a loss of appreciation by them as they try to be more American.

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