Swinging back and forth, a five-year-old child plays innocently on the monkey bars thinking only of what's for lunch. I'm sure all of you can remember blissfully innocent times like these. Everything seemed so much simpler. The stresses of finding jobs, paying bills, and handling life's other complexities were nonexistent. When you really look back, that image of innocence is a more crucial time than you previously thought. It was during times like these that I, like others before me, developed into the man I am today. The mind of a young person is malleable; one continues growing and redefining oneself all the way through adolescence and beyond. Perhaps the largest obstacle to be conquered during childhood is the discovery of cultural identity. At least for me, this issue has dominated my life. Being the son of a Mexican mother and a British father, finding my place in society has been a struggle.
With windswept beaches, metropolitan charm, and three hundred sixty-five days of sunshine, my hometown of Naples, Florida is one step short of being anyone's idea of paradise. It is your cliché of a resort town. Due to its many employment opportunities, the diversity of its residents is comparable to that of large cities. The proximity to Miami and the Caribbean has dotted the area with transplantees of every race and ethnicity. Hispanics from all across Latin America reside there along with a hodgepodge of peoples from the Lesser Antilles. The mixed Anglo-Americans of Naples are also unique in their own right. They originate from the Northeast and Midwest, bringing with them regional customs and habits that blend together. I have met people who grew up in Chicago but speak with a southern accent due...
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...re I'm a part of? The man I am is a testament to my own personal identity and not the group with which I align myself." That was the answer I needed. My position in society hasn't changed but I now accept myself for who I am. There will always be those who want me to be something I'm not, but I don't live for them.
My strength in the multicultural identity I have come to terms with lies in the fact that I am a part of America's future. As the world shrinks, cultures will merge and the people that partake in them will unite. It is only a matter of time before the face of the United States is radically altered. For me to bear shame would be detrimental not only to myself but also to those who will bear the privilege to be multicultural too. The life I live is a test of the unknown. We shall see if America is ready to accept the future that is quickly approaching.
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