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Essay about my racial, cultural, and social identity

Hightower 1 / 1  
Apr 22, 2012   #1
This is a project that I was assigned in my race class. This stuff isn't the kind of thing I usually think about, so I just wanted to get an outsider's opinion on what I've done so far.  

exploring my identity

1. Who am I? An overview of your labels: You will want to lay out in writing which labels apply to you. You will need to identify yourself racially and culturally. If you feel your gender, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status, or native language are also central to your being, I would love to hear about these as well. So in this section you will lay out the labels that you think apply to yourself, and explain why you have chosen them. This can be done in written format, or with writing and images.

My response:

American - Foremost I would consider myself an American. Going through my maternal lineage I am a tenth generation American. My ancestors were here before the Thirteen Colonies declared independence, and one of my ancestor's was given a land grant from a royal governor, so I feel deeply connected to the roots of this country.

White - I have light skin, and my ancestors hailed from Europe. Before this class I never gave any thought to Whiteness being a social construct or embedded institution.

Male - I have two sisters, so to me being male means I'm the special one. Also being bigger and stronger, and being able to reach the top shelf has proven indispensable.

Massachusetts, New Englander - I'm a fan of the history of the American revolution so I like living in a place with such rich history.

Catholic - Being Catholic is almost de rigueur for being an Irish-American.

Middle class - To me being middle class means that I have the opportunity to improve my standing in life with hard work and determination.

Politically independent - Politics are an important part of the American psyche. My mother is very liberal, and my father is conservative, but I'm probably more of a libertarian than anything else.

3. Race Matters: This section will focus on race in particular. In a short essay, I want you to discuss in particular your RACIAL background, and the costs and benefits associated with it. What does it mean to you to be African American? White? How does this label feel? Fit? cause you grief? If you are unsure, you should talk about why this is the case?

My response:

I am white, and I grew up in a predominantly white community, so whiteness has always seemed the norm to me, and I have never perceived any privileges or detriments coupled to my skin color. In effect my whiteness has been a nonentity to me, something I have taken for granted, kind of like being part of the "control group." I grew up living in a rather homogenous community, mostly Irish American, and dealing with people similar to myself in most regards. However, I don't think I've been culturally isolated, in grade school a number of my friends parents were first generation immigrants, and my friends spoke a second language at home; Bulgarian, Chinese, Hindi, Russian, French, and my room mate last year was from Dubai. For whatever reason, in my mostly homogenous community, my circle of friends happened to be rather diverse, but we all had more in common than we didn't. I generally expect to be judged by my merits not by skin color or other superficial qualities, and I try to afford other people that same courtesy.

Note: Questions 2 and 4 involve a visual component so I have excluded that part.

kusanagi1981 3 / 16 1  
Apr 23, 2012   #2
Hey there.I am not quite sure about this one :

being male means I'm the special one

Do you really feel you are special just because you are a man? Instead, you could talk about being protective or responsible since you are stronger etc. But then again it's your point of view.

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