93 pages • 3 hours readAmerica Ferrera
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While growing up, America Ferrera hated the attention others placed on her first name. Kids in school who made fun of her when her ninth-grade class recited The Pledge of Allegiance. Her American History teacher also constantly embarrassed her because of how much he loved her first name; she eventually started using a nickname in class. Though she loved America and its symbolism—such as baseball and Dodger dogs—she wondered why Americans always defined her first name from a narrow viewpoint; they always assumed her parents were patriotic and named her after the United States of America, despite also wondering where her parents were really from. Most Americans couldn’t even conceive of South or Central America. America’s name, in fact, comes from her mother, a Honduran woman named after “an obscure holiday called Día de Las Américas” (xii).
Before delving into her growing awareness of racial differences, America provides an example of her first bout with racism when she was only six. She fell in love with a boy at school, a crush she harbored over the years without the boy ever acting on it. One day, however, her crush told her he liked someone else because the other girl has “blue eyes and lighter skin than you” (xvi).