race are delicate -- not just because they stir up high emotions but also because they force people to make observations about themselves and others. Race is a dividing line between people. If we have nothing else with which to differentiate ourselves, we do have race. It is one of the first things we notice about someone and it is usually one of the first things by which we judge people. Two stories that explore the phenomenon of racial differences are "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan and "Recitatif" by Toni Morrison. Each author presents characters that have definite attitudes toward race. In "Two Kinds," Jing-Mei's mother is convinced her daughter can be a grand success if she is not so Chinese. In "Recitatif," Morrison represents social ideas about race through Twyla and Roberta by choosing to conceal their race. In addition, Twyla experiences difficulty reconciling Maggie's race, which seemingly should not matter to her so many years later. These stories expose how myths and perceptions about race stay with individuals for lifetimes and, unfortunately, shape how they think about and treat others.

In "Two Kinds," the issue of racial differences is introduced early in the story when Jing-Mei's mother wants her to be like Shirley Temple. Her mother takes her to beauty training school and puts her in the hands of a "student who could barely hold the scissors without shaking"(142). Instead of Shirley Temple-like curls, she emerges with an "uneven mass of crinkly black fuzz" (142). Her mother told her she looked like Negro Chinese but still continued in trying to get her daughter to be a prodigy of some sort. The interesting this, however, is that her mother thought she could not succeed as a prodigy if she looked Chinese. She was also a "dainty ballerina girl standing by the curtains" (142). Her mother also collected magazines and each week she would search through them "searching for stories of remarkable children" (143) so she could know how to train her to be an astounding child. Here we see how a Chinese mother comes to believe that her daughter can only be great if she is something other than Chinese. Her mother's perception of greatness is skewed by strange things. However, this insight allows us to see how easy it is to look from outside in and assume something, or someone, is better. Jing-Mei's mother makes her daughter suffer needlessly because she wants her to be different. As an adult, she should know better but she is unable to control herself when it comes to training her daughter to be some kind of prodigy. She instills feelings of inferiority in xxx that will last a lifetime.

Morrison looks at how racial differences affect all races. It is easy to fall into the belief that some races do not experience troubles about race. For example, it would seem like white people would suffer from racial difference the least but in actuality, they are just as shaped by racial influences as other races. In "Recitatif," Morrison refuses to let the reader know which girl is African-American. Doing so allows her to illustrate just how much racial differences are introduced into society. She does this with the character of Maggie, whose race becomes important when Roberta and Twyla cannot remember what race she was. Twyla knows she was not pitch black but she has a difficult time remembering. Her confusion regarding the matter is no…