Banks explains that in order to define whiteness, African Americans were necessary. This is because constructing other racial categories helped as a source of identification for powerful main groups like whites (p.22). In this article, bank has discussed racial theories developed by intellectual leaders and also explains how Franz Boas, Robert E Park and African American scholars and social scientist strived for racial reconstruction. Banks’ article helps student to realize how racial knowledge is constructed and how it is evolved over time. Banks also emphasises the importance of having transformative teaching and learning.
Ralph Linton’s article “The one hundred percent American” humorously describes that most of the things an American use in everyday life are originated from other countries. Linton brilliantly analyses that majority of materials a typical American uses are un-American, and yet they consider themselves as “one hundred percent American”. Linton has explained almost every routine including activities like waking up, taking shower, having breakfast, going out in rain, catching train and reading paper, and finds out that American uses un-American materials for all these needs. This includes a pyjama he wears which is of East Indian origin or bed he sleeps which is from Persia or Asia Minor (p.1). Linton shows us that most of the American way of doing things exists because of the other countries which invented them. For students, this article is really informative and may help them understand the extent to which American culture is unique.
The article “Do we need a common American identity?” discusses about the complex issues in American identity. The title question is supported by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr (1992) who asserts that multiculturalism is a threat for basic values of Americans. While Michael Walzer (1990) opposes the title question and suggests that multicultural identity cannot be avoided in America.