Julissa Arce Rejects Assimilation in 'You Sound Like a White Girl'

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Julissa Arce's new book is “You Sound Like A White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation.” (Photo of Julissa Arce by Aly Honore.)

When a classmate in junior high school told Julissa Arce, an immigrant from Mexico,  that she sounded like a white girl, she took it as a compliment. “Sounding like a white girl gave me a false sense of security. Having an accent said I was from someplace else; sounding like a white girl fooled me into thinking I could belong in the United States,” she writes in her new book, “You Sound Like A White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation.” Writer, speaker, and immigration rights advocate, Arce became well known after publishing her first book, “My (Underground) American Dream,” about her experience working for Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs even though she was undocumented. In her latest release, she eviscerates the idea that through assimilation, anyone can be successful and accepted in America. In reality, she argues, assimilation functions as a tool of white supremacy. We talk with Arce about what it means to reject assimilation and how Latinos and other people of color are reclaiming their identities.


Julissa Arce, author, speaker and immigration rights advocate. Her latest book is "You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation." She is also author of the memoirs "My (Underground) American Dream" and "Someone Like Me."