biss summary - or practiced any of their culture. In fact,...

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Derek Pieser Summary #2 – Biss, “No One Knows Your Name” Throughout her life, Eula Biss has had trouble with classifying someone’s race by their name and ancestor’s ethnicity. In her essay “No One Knows Your Name,” Biss states that race is not biologically based, but instead race serves “a purely social purpose” (173). She supports her main claim by recalling her and her husband’s past and present experiences, as well as the history of Irish immigrants in the United States. Biss writes about a National Geographic article, titled “Celt Appeal,” that she read one day as evidence that race serves a purely social purpose. She agrees with the author, Tom O’Neill, and his belief that our identities are “ours to choose” and that race in our current era can be defined as feeling “touched by the history, myths, and artistic expressions” of a certain group (180). Biss’ husband has what many people (including himself) call a “very Irish” last name. Despite the seemingly strong presence of Irish descent in his name, he has never been to Ireland
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Unformatted text preview: or practiced any of their culture. In fact, because of her husbands less-than-average economic standing and less than refined manners, he is more likely to say hes white trash when asked about his race (172). Biss also references the troubles that Irish immigrants had in the United States with employment in order to prove that race serves a solely social purpose. When the Irish first began to arrive in America, they competed with free black for jobs or used as an expendable workforce for work that was too dangerous for slaves (175). It did not matter if the Irish immigrants were white, they were still seen in the same socio-economic class as African Americans. Biss quotes the writer Sherman Alexie to show that, in the eyes of members of the highest socio-economic (ruling) class, everybody in the working-class are actually working-class blacks (174)....
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biss summary - or practiced any of their culture. In fact,...

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