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Covering

In the book Covering, Kenji Yoshino introduces the concept of “covering." To cover is to downplay aspects of our identity that make us different from mainstream society. The following excerpts (a blend of material from the book’s preface and first chapter) introduce the concept of covering and why it is important.
Author
Kenji Yoshino
Grade Level

Source
From COVERING by Kenji Yoshino, copyright ©2006 by Kenji Yoshino. Used by permission of Random House, Inc. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Random House, Inc. fo
Text Dependent Questions
Question
How does Kenji Yoshino define “covering”?
Answer
To cover is to tone down a disfavored identity to fit into the mainstream.
Question
What are two examples of the demands of covering given in the text that are not protected by civil rights laws?
Answer
Examples might include Muslims hiding their religious garb in order to avoid post-9/11 targeting or women not
talking about their family responsibilities in order to be taken more seriously by the men at work.
Question
“Everyone covers,” Yoshino claims. What does he say is our reason for covering? Share an example of how the
demands of covering affect you.
Answer
Yoshino says we cover in order to be accepted and to get along in life. He writes that, because of power structures like white supremacy and patriarchy, the demands of covering remain in effect despite legally protected equal rights. Students’ views will vary.
Question
Yoshino writes that despite progress, “the covering demand presents a puzzle.” What does he mean?
Answer
Yoshino is speaking to the fact that, in a post-civil rights America, most minority groups have their rights protected by law but they still must assimilate, or cover, to get by in society despite these legal protections.
Question
Reread the final paragraph.
What rhetorical device does the author use in this paragraph to enforce the idea that “covering is a hidden
assault on our civil rights”? Is the structure of this text effective?
Answer
Yoshino uses repetition in this paragraph (specifically anaphora, the repetition of the first part of a sentence). She repeats the phrase “the reason” three times to accentuate the three examples of hidden assaults against racial minorities, women and LGBT people. It is effective because it delineates each assault and evokes passion in readers.