Here they were, trying to bring back that old feeling, that feeling they belonged to America the way they felt during the war. They blamed themselves for losing the new feeling; they never talked about it, but they blamed themselves just like they blamed themselves for losing the land the white people took. They never thought to blame the white people for any of it; they wanted white people for their friends. They never saw that it was the white people who gave them that feeling and it was the white people who took it away again when the war was over.

After they return to the reservation, the young men who fought in World War II often meet at the bars on the reservation line to drink and reminisce. As Tayo accompanies Harley to the bar, shortly after his first session with Ku'oosh, he remembers the last time they went, along with Leroy and Emo, on a similar outing. Emo and Tayo have never gotten along well, however, and on that occasion, under the influence of alcohol, Tayo became so disgusted and infuriated with Emo that he stabbed him in the stomach with a broken beer bottle. This quote demonstrates the elements on Emo's vision that set Tayo off.

In this passage, Tayo, and the narrator as he (or she) is aligned with Tayo, expose Emo's reaction to Tayo's identification of internalized racism. Even in the face of Tayo's analysis of the phenomenon, Emo provides a classic example of internalized racism. He believes the point of view of the white racists. He blames himself and the other victims of racism for being its cause. For the brief period when they wore the US Army uniforms, Emo and the other Native Americans were able to escape from much of the racism, which had always plagued their lives. Emo, and many others who internalize racism, does not see that there is a systemic problem, and only wishes desperately to recapture the one moment when it did not operate as usual. As a result, Emo is not able to understand that when he put on the uniform, it was not he who changed but the whites' perception of him. He does not recognize the racism that leads whites to mistreat Native Americans, be it in the form of unfair land deals or the denial of equal access to respect and jobs after the war. As Tayo and the narrator evaluate Emo's internalized racism, they show it to be almost as detrimental to Native Americans as is the racism of the whites.