The book Quicksand and White Boy Shuffle seem to have a lot in common. The main characters both seem to be caught between two worlds. They sort of have mirroring paths. In the beginning of Quicksand, Helga is in a predominantly black community and she feels out of place there and decided to leave for first Chicago the New York. When she gets Denmark, she is in a primarily white community where she is treated as exotic and one of a kind. She feels like an outsider. Gunner on the other hand, starts out in a primarily white community where he notices that how he is treated is different than that of the people around him, but still seems to fit into his place. Once he moves to his new neighborhood that is when he begins to feel like an outsider. They both cannot really become comfortable in these homogenous groups. Ms. Kim also feels a similar way, but hers is like a switch. She turns on her “Korean side” when she is managing the shop and then turns on her “Black side” when she is on the streets. She also cannot find a place where she is completely comfortable with her whole self.

Here there is a definite contrast between what it means to be culturally white and racially white and how our environment shapes who we are. Gunnar is not white, racially, but a lot of the things he does or the way he acts would be considered culturally white. They even name the dance, and the book, “white boy shuffle”. He is not white, but the other characters of the novel still consider him white. Helga is biracial, but seems to fit in less with an all-white community than Gunner does. While aspects of our culture may be connected to our race or ethnicity often the ideas of being culturally white or black bring out stereotypes. These are not specifically negative stereotypes, but they still perpetuate the idea of “us vs. them” and groups people into categories, which in all too prevalent in our country.

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