my preface

I was born in 1968 to a Christian mother, an often-absent Muslim father, and to a poverty that was only somewhat alleviated by AFDC and public housing. Early on, I recognized the difference of my dark Muslim father and I learned to appreciate the importance, the comfort, of assimilation as I was called “Amir the queer” and “sand-nigger.” For me, it became easy to become a part of the “we”; it became easy to become Richard with my light skin, to become a conservative so as to hide my welfare associations, to become a Christian so that I could reconcile the American myth with reality. However, for most people who live in the framework of difference, it is not so easy to become a part of the we, one with, and of, the social majority. And at the beginning of the twenty-first century, when more and more people who live on the margins of our uncertain and ambiguous “we” society begin to claim their too-often denied political selves, the question of, “Can we envision U.S. democratic politics in ways that both respect and transcend difference lines?” takes on a heightened importance as well as posing a significant threat. In other words, the question is important if we as a nation wish to maintain a traditional sense and structure of a U.S. democracy while also protecting ideals that are synonymous with that sense and structure. If we find that we are unable to envision U.S. democratic politics in ways that respect and transcend difference lines, I suspect that a prominent understanding of our political, social, and cultural selves will be justifiably threatened; that is, if we are unable to reconcile our differences, and thus the ways in which we see ourselves and others who are not like ourselves, we will be forced to re-examine deep differences within the rhetoric of an American myth — specifically, the notion that there is in existence a basic fundamental understanding of what it means to be an “American” where the presence of a reasonably clear democratic politics that is just and fair, that is open and respectful of difference, is visible or within reach.

Following the example in Tahvildaran-Jesswein’s, Democracy and Difference, please write a 300-500 word “preface”.

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My name is Yang Luo. I comes from China.