Personal Identity Research Paper : Ethnic And Cultural Identity

Personal Identity Research Paper : Ethnic And Cultural Identity

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Personal Identity Research Paper
Racially, ethnically, and culturally, I classify myself as a white, Irish-Italian- American, woman. My mother was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and my paternal grandparents are from Sicily, Italy. I imagine being first generation Irish and second generation Italian makes me relate more with my ethnicity.
My maternal grandfather impacted my development of my ethnic and cultural identity. He instilled a pride and an understanding of my Irish roots. Specifically, he brought me over to Belfast to learn and experience the culture. At the time, the hostility between the Protestants and Catholics was evident. People were living under the threats of terrorism, bombing, propaganda graffiti, and under a police state. In addition, I witnessed families torn apart because a mother was one religion and the father was another. Yet, I developed a love for the country, its people, and heritage.
In the same manner, my paternal grandmother taught me about my Italian heritage. She would cook specialties from Sicily and tell me stories of her homeland. My grandmother made sure I appreciated Sicilian traditions, superstitions, and the language. I am grateful to both my grandparents for exposing me to their cultures.
My Identity matches the way others view me. However, other races fail to recognize there are many different white cultures and ethnicities. To emphasize: Irish culture is different from Italian culture; which is different from Swedish culture; therefore, white is not one big homogenous culture.
Undoubtedly, gender not race impacts me on a daily basis. Growing up the only girl with six brothers I experienced gender discrimination. I was treated differently and more unfairly than my brothe...

... middle of paper ...

...oth communities.
I specifically asked Jeremy how he felt being part of a large predominately white family. Jeremy expressed he always felt loved by all of us, but feels like an outsider. He said he never feels at ease when around all of us and he wishes he could relate to us more. I also asked him if he wishes he was white and /or if Anthony was black. His answer was no to both questions. He just wants to be himself, even with a large white family whom he loves.
Jeremy’s identity journey is different than mine. Unlike Jeremy, I was lucky to have people teach me about my heritages and instill me with pride. My race, ethnicity, and culture are not part every interaction, every second of every day. For Jeremy, being black is essential to his identity. I think his mother and my family have failed Jeremy by not realizing he considers himself black (not part white).

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