Personal Narrative: Personal Identity

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I am the child of a Jamaican Immigrant and Bronx native, raised in a single parent lower-middle class family in an affluent suburb, 18 miles outside of New York City. My father was absent for much of the first couple years and constituted monthly visits for most of the first two decades of my life. It wasn’t until I was 16, that I truly started building a relationship with my father and as a consequence my mother was the central influential figure in my life. Growing up there was always a strong emphasis placed on the importance of education, as I watched my mom juggled working two jobs and going to school while simultaneously raising me. She made it clear that the reason she stayed in America was in order to pursue her education and that…show more content…
This gave me a strong sense of connectedness to my Jamaican identity (Witherspoon et. al., 2016). Being surrounded by individuals who individuals who had experiences similar to me, made it easier for me develop a sense of identity. This paired with being raised solely by my mother, who was Jamaican, made it hard to relate to the other half of my family. Yes, I knew I was black but for most of my school years I was identified as Jamaican before black. Black was my race, my skin color but Jamaican was my culture. It is not until I went to college and the strong network of Jamaicans I had grown accustomed to disappeared and I started to build a relationship with my father, did I truly confront what it means to be African American or Black in…show more content…
Family was never very far away. I had cousins who lived across the street from, aunts and uncles that lived the next town over and great-aunts and great-uncles that live in the next state over. Moreover, events such as baptisms, marriages and funerals brought even more family in to town. This large extended family network served as a support network especially because the large network would often be brought together for funeral (Constantine & Sue 2006). Therefore, the familial network served a coping strategy because it provided support in hard times such as a death of a family member or entertainment and humor. Consequently, the large familial network was a protective factor. Allowing for the development of resilience in the face of adversity (Riley & Masten,
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