Minorities in the United States

Both works, the play and the poem, are remarkable for their theme of ordinariness and their seeming determination to project minority races as ordinary, average Americans and, in so doing, dispute, possibly deconstruct, the myth of the exotic, or the dangerous other.’
"Sure You Can Ask Me A Question" actively seeks to deconstruct the myths which white America has of a specific minority group, the native Americans. The poem is comprised of a series of responses to questions, not actually contained in the text but implied, which a White American asks the narrator. The questions, as evident from the poem, are all borne out of stereotypical images of Native Americans, ranging from the assumption that they all have high cheekbones and long, dark and silky hair, to that they probably weave their own clothes and must, naturally, be in a position to offer advice as to where Indian souvenirs can be cheaply bought. The answers, which constitute the poem itself, reveal that the narrator knows no more than does her interrogator and, indeed, can hardly be distinguished from her questioner. She does not know where Najevo rigs may be cheaply purchased and does not make her own clothes but, instead, buys them from Bloomingdale’s as do probably millions of Americans.
The intent of the poem is not the correction of stereotypes as much as it is their deconstruction. The narrator, for example, offers brief responses to the questions posed, as opposed to lengthy explanatory ones. Burns’ approach is consistent with her purpose: negation, rather than correction, with the intent being the exposition of the similarities between the narrator and the questioner, the white and the native American.
Hansberry’s play similarly expresses the theme of ordinariness, not by disputing stereotypes or even addressing them but by exposing the common simplicity of the Younger family’s dreams. As evident in the play, each, in his/her own way, is pursuing the American dream. Mama dreams of a house with a lawn. Ruth shares Mama’s dreams, wanting her son, Travis, to live in a nice place, in a middle class neighborhood and have a lawn to play in. Beneatha wants to become a medical doctor and, Walter, wants to become a businessman and make money, not for himself as much as fir his entire family. The very nature of their collective dreams, success, wealth, a nice house and a loving family to share it all with, is quintessentially American and cannot be distinguished as uniquely African American, in any way.
The ordinariness of the family’s dreams further extends to the ordinariness of interfamilial relationships. Mama wants her daughter to get married, to have her own home and wants to provide her grandson, Travis, with opportunities she was not able to provide either her son or daughter. The husband and wife, Walter and Ruth, alternately struggle with one another and come together. The family’s variant dreams clash and each believes that his/her is superior to that of the others and, accordingly, familial relationships tend towards the tense at time. In the end, however, and when confronted with an external threat, they come together and Walter stands up to the man who wanted to pay off Mama just to keep African Americans out of the neighborhood. The family, in other words, is as loving and as conflicted as is any American family.
On the basis of the analysis presented in the foregoing, it is evident that both these literary works