21 min

For author Julissa Arce, 'sounding white' isn't a compliment It's Been a Minute

    • Society & Culture

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Julissa Arce used to think that the secret to fitting in was to "sound white" — to speak English perfectly, with no accent. And for years after her family came to the U.S. from Mexico, she did all the things immigrants are "supposed" to do to assimilate: she went to college, got a job at Goldman Sachs and became an American citizen.

It wasn't enough. So Arce decided that the solution was to stop trying to fit in, and instead embrace her whole identity. Her ideas come to life in her book, You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation.

In this encore episode from this past March, guest host Elise Hu revisits her conversation with Arce about the book, and what it means to celebrate your own culture and history.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenaMin and email us ibam@npr.org.

Julissa Arce used to think that the secret to fitting in was to "sound white" — to speak English perfectly, with no accent. And for years after her family came to the U.S. from Mexico, she did all the things immigrants are "supposed" to do to assimilate: she went to college, got a job at Goldman Sachs and became an American citizen.

It wasn't enough. So Arce decided that the solution was to stop trying to fit in, and instead embrace her whole identity. Her ideas come to life in her book, You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation.

In this encore episode from this past March, guest host Elise Hu revisits her conversation with Arce about the book, and what it means to celebrate your own culture and history.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenaMin and email us ibam@npr.org.

21 min

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