University Writing for International Students
30 September 2018
Minority Within a Minority
In the book Brown: The Last Discovery of America, the author, Richard Rodriguez is trying to analyze how race is defined in America and how do people grasp the concept of it. In the chapter “The Third Man,” from the beginning, Rodriguez does not hide his Latin heritage and point out that a reader can understand that solely from his last name “my name on this book is brown” where brown mean Hispanic. Rodriguez skin color is neither black or white, and by being “brown,” he and the Hispanic people are left outside of “the tragic dialectic of America, the black and white conversation.” Rodriguez suggests that the separation between races extends the cultural gap and defeats the purpose of uniting together because it should happen “with an eye to merging the whole, not remaining separate.” By creating minorities subgroups, the groups drift away from each another, and from what the author sees as the goal, of embracing heritage rather than race.
Rodriguez sets the scene by telling the reader he is in a conference with people from different “races” while he tries to be “the third man,” he is not white nor black. He is the man between, “gray or at least blur.” He uses “grey” as a term with no endorsement. Rodriguez writes that he has no race and also neglect the fact that other speakers refer to themselves as “black” or “white” people. He is worried that people are “bound to misunderstand” his idea because he is trying to change a long lasting thought, when in reality, his level of self-confidence, arrogance, and rudeness, might shift the reader’s attention from understanding the issue he is trying to present. Rodriguez writing is stocked with logical fallacies, using emotions, false analogies, and although he has some clear and valid points, they get blurred with biased opinions.
Early on the chapter, Rodriguez is already apologizing for what he is about to say. “By telling you these things, I do not betray my people.” The fact he is apologizing in advance means that he is aware of his controversial thoughts. He “infiltrates” other cultures with no hesitation, “I see myself within the history of African Americans, Irish Catholics and American Jews and the Chinese of California,” and by writing that he might antagonize with readers who are part of these cultures. For example, If an African American that his family has been through slavery or an American Jew that his family migrated to America after surviving the Second World War would read this text, they will already become hostile and disagree with his thoughts. Entering into a territory of another culture is a sensitive topic in society, and Rodriguez does not take any precautions before doing so. Furthermore, he simplifies and inherits other cultures and their experiences into his own nonchalantly. Although his ideas might help the minorities he mentioned pursue their goals in a better, more successful...