Do I know who I am? Am I who I think I am? What makes me, me.? There’s a lot to know, and still so much more to explore and learn about myself. There are three main aspects about my life, that symbolizes who I am as a person. My cultural identity is based upon values, appearance and my life itself. I love who I am, and who I am becoming. My happiness and intelligence is what makes me stand out from others. I’ve always put my best foot forward and make the best decisions for myself. I am half Indian, Caucasian, European & Mexican on my mom’s side of the family. On my dad’s, I am Half Jamaican on my dad’s side of the family. Both of my parents taught me different ways around life and what is expected of me. But the three things that sums up my cultural identity are food, fashion, and family traditions.
I am even different from my family. My cultural identity explains that I speak english english, I love spicy foods, I like the wear comfortable cloths and I am country girl and listens to country music . Although I speak English, I know some French and also some Spanish. Unlike my family, I love spicy food. Oh boy, I love me some spicy cajun food!
Exploring your ethnic roots will enhance your understanding of how your background has shaped you. I am a 24-year-old heterosexual Hispanic woman that was raised in Fresno, California in a Catholic family. As an able-bodied citizen, I considered my social class to be middle class because I always had the necessary resources growing up. Being raised within the Mexican culture has helped me identify with myself. I seek information from my parents to determine their experiences in the United States and how that has affected me today.
The American Identity is more than just being a citizen in America. What makes the American Identity is the diversity that exists in America. America is a melting pot, which consists of many ethnic groups, religions, and ideas. It isn’t the appearance that makes you American, it is your mind and the way one acts make one American. I am a kid who is part Korean, French, and Chinese. My mom is Korean and Chinese, and my dad is French and Chinese. I do celebrate Lunar New Year with some of my relatives on my mother’s side, but my dad doesn’t celebrate any French holidays. To be qualified as an American, one must be unique in their own way, and love freedom.
Everybody is unique, they have this one thing that makes them stand out among others. This unique part of them, really helps define who they are. In order to better understand me I feel it’s important to fully understand where I come from to see who I really am. I come from unique from parents; my dad is from Punjab and my mother was born here in the United States. Being half Punjab and half American gives me a unique identity.
Through most of my life I grew up not caring much about my heritage and background. I was told by my father that our heritage was primarily German and Native American. Since I was young around that time I did not think much of my heritage. However, as time progressed I grew curious of who I actually was. One day I asked my father the same question I did several years ago.
So, in looking at my cultural identity, I am examining both my own labels and what they mean to me and layering on top of that cultural influencers that operate within my life and how the interplay between these layers works. In looking at all of the groups I listed as being important parts of my cultural identity, I think the one aspect of internalized or deep culture seen as an undertone throughout all of them is the theme of independence. I was raised to believe that as long as what I was doing was not hurting anyone else, it was okay. I was also taught early on that I am the only one who can make me happy, and that has to happen before I will be able to help others.
One's Cultural Identity Everyone's culture differs, it is one way that distinguishes one from others. It is acquired, everyone is raised from it, and it determines the way one view the world and others. Imagine being in place with others that have different perspective of culture. Culture greatly informs the way one views the world and others.
People love to label themselves. From personality quizzes to AA meetings, many long for acceptance within a group filled with people like themselves. Yet, arguably, the most important label for many is their heritage. In her essay “Cultural Baggage,” author Barbara Ehrenreich discusses her relation to her identity and society's obsession with culture, questioning why people find clearly defined culture as so important and crucial to the human experience. Beginning in her childhood, Ehrenreich details her desire to understand and find meaning in her life, which largely stems from the absence of any distinct and unique culture .
In the past I have struggled with my biracial identity. As a child I was confused about which community I belonged in because I am a mix of Navajo and Caucasian. As I got older, I began to question myself and who I was. I felt like I did not belong to either the Native or Caucasian community because in both groups I felt like someone else. I felt as if I had to live two lives that were completely separated. When I was on my reservation I felt like I had to act “Navajo” and when I was not on the reservation I had to try to blend in and not act “too native” . This situation was stressful because I was internally battling with myself. I did not want to make others uncomfortable by being “too native” or “too white” so I would change how I acted
Culturally, family is the base of my Hispanic heritage. As a child my mother taught me that family is the most important aspect of life. I remember my abuelita and uncle visiting every Thanksgiving and telling stories about their youth, from my uncle getting lost in Yosemite National Park to my abuelita regularly being dragged by the ear to Mother Superior’s office. When she came to visit, my abuelita would always share the family albums that she had stuffed in her suitcase. With every picture there was both a story and a lesson. The stories would change; the lesson remained the same: family is the trait that binds people together. Family is love, family is laughter, family is forever.
At first I wrestled with where my identity lay. The strong values and traditions of the Indian culture sometimes made it difficult to fit in with the crowd. As I grew older, I began to understand that I was not part of an individual culture, but a fusion of two rich and colorful histories. I recognized that there is remarkably more to an individual than where she comes from, and more to her than where she currently lives. Importantly, being from two cultures allows me to incorporate the best qualities of both.
I don’t enjoy listening to music in Spanish nor do I enjoy some traditions my family has. I’m white washed they say and perhaps I am, but my parents don’t recognize that I grew up in a completely different environment than they did. For that reason, I feel a sense of loneliness and alienation for not matching the cultural identity of my parents. I would describe my cultural identity as a grapevine. I stem from my parents’ roots and their values and customs, but as I grow up I change.
As an Indian-Americans, I grew up with two very different cultures influencing me in to distinct worlds: my home life and my school life. It wasn’t until I became a freshman a few years ago that these two cultures fused into one. I used to think using my mother tongue in public was weird, and that I had to be just like my Caucasian friends to be “cool”. As an early teen, I never acknowledged my own religion, culture, and ethnicity; sometimes I disgraced them. But, as I matured, I realized that my religion, culture, and ethnicity is a gift.
In the past, I found myself identifying myself to have commonalities with people surrounding me. When I was surrounded by a diverse group of people, I would find that I would gravitate towards those who appeared to have something in common with me. I believe I was drawn towards people of the same age range, race, and culture the same as my own because it is something familiar. Although I still think that I gravitate towards individuals like myself, I believe I try to branch out and meet others individuals that differ from me more than I did in that past. Now, I shape my own identity.