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Quotes

Quote #4

But America has been full of machines and ghosts – Taxi Ghosts, Bus Ghosts, Police Ghosts, Fire Ghosts, Meter Reader Ghosts, Tree Trimming Ghosts, Five-and-Dime Ghosts. Once upon a time the world was so thick with ghosts, I could hardly breathe; I could hardly walk, limping my way around the White Ghosts and their cars. There were Black Ghosts too, but they were open eyed and full of laughter, more distinct than White Ghosts (3.183).

Kingston's varied use of ghosts in her memoirs here suggest that even everyday people (like taxi drivers) were initially foreign to her and thus considered ghosts. The sense of fear that ghosts suggest show us how racial difference was frightening or at least stifling to Kingston at first.

Quote #5

Some Negro kids walked met to school and home, protecting me from the Japanese kids, who hit me and chased me and stuck gum in my ears. The Japanese kids were noisy and tough. They appeared one day in kindergarten, released from concentration camp, which was a tic-tac-toe mark, like barbed wire, on the map (5.33).

Kingston refutes the racial category of Asian by alluding to the historical differences and interactions between Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans.

Quote #6

"Louder," said the teacher, who scared the voice away again. The other Chinese girls did not talk either, so I knew the silence had to do with being a Chinese girl (5.34).

Kingston shows how stereotypes circulate even within one's own ethnic group, producing an idea of fact and truth.

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