Longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award
In this sharp and candid collection of essays, critically acclaimed writer and first-generation American Jennine Capó Crucet explores the condition of finding herself a stranger in the country where she was born. Raised in Miami and the daughter of Cuban refugees, Crucet examines the political and personal contours of American identity and the physical places where those contours find themselves smashed: be it a rodeo town in Nebraska, a university campus in upstate New York, or Disney World in Florida. Crucet illuminates how she came to see her exclusion from aspects of the theoretical American Dream, despite her family’s attempts to fit in with white American culture—beginning with their ill-fated plan to name her after the winner of the Miss America pageant.
In prose that is both fearless and slyly humorous, My Time Among the Whites examines the sometimes hopeful, sometimes deeply flawed ways in which many Americans have learned to adapt, exist, and—in the face of all signals saying otherwise—perhaps even thrive in a country that never imagined them here.
“Beautiful and heartbreaking . . . Though it would be wonderful if every Hispanic/Latino/Latinx or other person of color read this book—the world would be a significantly better place if every white person who thinks they are politically progressive or an ally of people of color read My Time Among the Whites . . . There's plenty here to chew on for Latinx readers, including what kind of privilege we carry around depending on our parents' wealth and education, the color of our skin, the whiteness of our names and even the opportunity to have a university experience . . . The fate of our next election and the future of our society largely balance on whether whites will be able to reckon with people like Capó Crucet being their neighbors, their peers and their teachers.”—Esther J. Cepeda, Chicago Tribune
“Remarkable . . . an interrogation of the American Dream, of American myths, and the whiteness that undergirds it all. My Time Among the Whites is also a thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a first-generation college student, a child of immigrants, and a professor to boot . . . An exploration of what it means to be Latinx in the time of Trump."—Renee Hudson, Los Angeles Review of Books
“A slim memoir in essays, My Time Among the Whites is an excellent primer on privilege and power, and the ways in which one can be both marginalized by whiteness and benefitted by it. This is a must-read for all white Latinx, and everyone else in the U.S., too.”—Cristina Arreola, Bustle
"Crucet’s well-written essays are entertaining and accessible, without letting readers or the author herself off the hook for reflecting on and addressing cultural issues. Strongly recommended for all readers."—Library Journal (starred review)
“In this conversational and often comic memoir-in-essays, Cuban American novelist Crucet examines entitlement and dislocation in a white world . . . An excellent prose stylist, Crucet easily immerses readers in her narrative.”—Publishers Weekly
Reviews from Goodreads
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It was a simple question, but we couldn’t find the answer in any of the paperwork the college had sent: How long was my family supposed to stay for first-year student orientation? This may seem easy enough to answer...