In-store, Book Talk
Friday, April 1 at 7pm
YOU SOUND LIKE A WHITE GIRL
by Julissa Arce
in conversation with Yesika Salgado
Bestselling author Julissa Arce brings readers a powerful polemic against the myth that assimilation leads to happiness and belonging for immigrants in America. Instead, she calls for a celebration of our uniqueness, our origins, our heritage, and the beauty of the differences that make us Americans.
ABOUT THE BOOK
"You sound like a white girl." These were the words spoken to Julissa by a high school crush as she struggled to find her place in America. As a brown immigrant from Mexico, assimilation had been demanded of her since the moment she set foot in San Antonio, Texas, in 1994. She'd spent so much time getting rid of her accent so no one could tell English was her second language that in that moment she felt those words--you sound like a white girl?--were a compliment. As a child, she didn't yet understand that assimilating to "American" culture really meant imitating "white" America--that sounding like a white girl was a racist idea meant to tame her, change her, and make her small. She ran the race, completing each stage, but never quite fit in, until she stopped running altogether.
In this dual polemic and manifesto, Julissa dives into and tears apart the lie that assimilation leads to belonging. She combs through history and her own story to break down this myth, arguing that assimilation is a moving finish line designed to keep Black and brown Americans and immigrants chasing racist American ideals. She talks about the Lie of Success, the Lie of Legality, the Lie of Whiteness, and the Lie of English--each promising that if you obtain these things, you will reach acceptance and won't be an outsider anymore. Julissa deftly argues that these demands leave her and those like her in a purgatory--neither able to secure the power and belonging within whiteness nor find it in the community and cultures whiteness demands immigrants and people of color leave behind.
In You Sound Like a White Girl, Julissa offers a bold new promise: Belonging only comes through celebrating yourself, your history, your culture, and everything that makes you uniquely you. Only in turning away from the white gaze can we truly make America beautiful. An America where difference is celebrated, heritage is shared and embraced, and belonging is for everyone. Through unearthing veiled history and reclaiming her own identity, Julissa shows us how to do this.
Julissa Arce is a nationally recognized author, sought-after speaker, producer, and social changemaker. She is the best-selling author of My (Underground) American Dream and Someone Like Me. Arce is a Crooked media contributor and a frequent writer for TIME Magazine, and has provided political commentary across numerous TV networks including NBC News, Bloomberg TV, CNN, and MSNBC. She is the cofounder of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students regardless of their immigration status. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Yesika Salgado is a Los Angeles based Salvadoran poet who writes about her family, her culture, her city, and her fat brown body. She has shared her work in venues and campuses throughout the country. Salgado is a two time National Poetry Slam finalist and the recipient of the 2020 International Latino Book Award in Poetry. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Teen Vogue, Univision, Spotify, CNN and many more networks and publications. She is an internationally recognized body-positive activist and the writer of the column Suelta for Remezcla. Yesika is the author of the best-sellers Corazón, Tesoro, and Hermosa, published with Not a Cult.