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Autobiographical Essay: Who Am I?

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1. Environment: I grew up in a very welcoming Orthodox Jewish community. I myself am a white, orthodox, Jewish woman. My neighborhood from the time I was born until my early young-adult-hood was made up of Orthodox Jews until two secular families moved in. Although technically my house lies within the Baltimore City, my community and school is not split into county and city. This means that it does not necessarily matter where one lives. One may attend any private Jewish school one wishes. I go to an all-female private school that was set up by my community specifically for Jewish girls like myself. My religious affiliation shapes most of who I am, and I am a firm believer in many of its teachings, including the teaching that you should treat others the same way you wish to be treated. My parents and ancestors come from all over the world. As result, my family has many traditions that most would assume do not fit with our skin color. For example, part of my family is from Spain and Morocco yet all of my family has relatively light skin and what are generally considered Caucasian features. I myself have been in situations where I was the whitest person in a public place and would feel uncomfortable stares and poor treatment along with religious slurs. However, because of my upbringing, I felt I had to prove that all the prejudice against me and my culture were false.
2. Social Class Background: Based on level of education, occupation, residence, wealth, and income, I think that my family belongs to the upper middle class. The upper middle class is composed of people who are considered professional, own their own businesses, and are managers. They value deferred gratification (to postpone pleasures for now and save...


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...t religions. As children, we were never taught to differentiate among people by color or religious belief. One of my mother’s friends is Muslim and my mother is an Israeli who was born in Morocco. When someone commented on this seemingly incompatible relationship, my mother just told them that her friend is a very nice person. She never even thought to judge him based on his religion. Growing up, my siblings and I have adopted my parents’ characteristic non-judgmental way of viewing people. I never really thought of myself as different until I noticed that other families were more homogenous than mine, and most people were not raised like I was. When I realized this, I actually felt bad for them for having such a narrow view of the world. I really enjoy learning more about different cultures, and I feel that my background makes me fairly diversity conscious.



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