When I examine myself dealing with my identity and culturel am reminded that the values are concrete points that are significant influences to me that guides me and it then becomes a process of my decision-making. By using my own story to explore my life experiences and roles in society and the historical and cultural conditions that have shaped my experiences, I was able to identify how I have contributed to historical movements in my lifetime.
Caughey says, “Another important aspect of life history involves an exploration of the social situations a person regularly passes through and the ways he or she plays the roles that these social worlds require” (p. 50). Thad many historical connections throughout my life, but the three that I decided to write on was 9/11, LA Riots, and Obama the first African American President. I also explored the categories of race, gender, class, ethnicity, and disability. Historical Connections There are many historical connections that have shaped my personal history, which are 9/11, LA Riots, and Obama being the first African American president.
I was twelve years old in middle school when the September 11, 2001 heartbreak occurred. Being that it happened so long ago I can only recall a little important detail about that day. I remember being in my first period class and hearing the principle, making the announcement about the tragedy that had occurred in New York City at the World Trade Center. My teacher then cuts on the television and we simply observed a live recording of what was occurring and before long, she cut the television off with sadness and disbelief showing on her face.
Later throughout the day in my other classes I learned that they also crashed planes into the Pentagon in Washington, D. C. and into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania killing everyone on the planes. That day was a very saddened for everyone around the world, and I recall that I just desired to get home because I was so afraid of not knowing what could happen next. “Following a trauma, such as the events of September 11, 2001, a common reaction noted in children is increased worry and fear” (Pynoos & Nadar, 1988; Vogel & Vernberg, 1993). (p. 87).
I was paralyzed and mobile from even getting on planes because 9/11 played out the devastation for me. “Although most children will develop symptoms within the first 6 months after a trauma, some may not show initial problems until much later” (Yule, Bolton, Udwin, Boyle, O’Ryan & Nurrish, 2000). (p. 287). This trauma puts so much fear inside of me that I was too afraid to ride a plane because of not knowing what may possibly happen. I held on to this fear for many years and the first time I ever got on a plane again was when I was 19 years old.
Nevertheless, to this every time I ride an airplane, I contemplate about if I am secure or not and the fears begin to take over. Another historical connection is the LA Riots on April 29, 1992, although I was only 2 years old when this event occurred, it still had a major impact on my family. I remember growing up and hearing my family talking about what had occurred and how awful it were. According to Management Review “After more than two days of rioting, looting and arson, volunteers helped to clean up part of the $735 million in damages in Los Angeles” (p. 45).
I also remember my mother telling me that the LA Riots actually hurt the black community because they took matters into their own hands and they burnt down many stores, injured thousands of people, and was showing racism towards whites. By them destroying the stores in his or her neighborhoods, it affected every person, to have to travel further to shop or buy anything. Yes, many can agree that what they did to Rodney King was unfair and uncalled for but the focus did not have to be towards the white people. Management Review states, “There’s no question that fairness is a basic American entitlement” (p. 46).
The problem should have been towards the crooked cops, because they showed too much force. Events like this is still occurring today, such as “Black Lives Matter”, which is a movement that started off in the African American community, that campaigns in opposition to police violence and more. This just shows that after all these years we are yet to resolve the problem correctly in the matter that it should be when it comes to police officers showing excessive force against black individuals. The last historical connection that has shaped my history is President Obama being the first African American President in history.
On January 20, 2009 President Obama became the 44th President, which unlocked a lot of barriers to prove to the black community that anything is possible and the sky is the limit. He has also taught us that we should never give up on our dreams no matter how big or how dynamic they may seem. Any dream is within our reach! Many of our ancestors talked about having an African American president, but never thought that it will come into existence. Although many have passed on, their dreams still come to past. I sincerely believe that we are the future our ancestors fought for. Race
Tam an African American woman, tall, dark skin, with brown eyes and hair. Growing up in a diverse middle class neighborhood is how I became aware that everyone was different. When I was younger my grandmother would tell me stories about how schools were segregated when she was attending school and that they were not diverse. My elementary school was extremely diverse and I had several friends of each ethnic group, and I never experienced racism. During my interactions with my friends in elementary school is when I start becoming more aware of the differences that a few of us had.
I begin to notice that some of our hair was different textures and that not all of us had the same skin color, some of us were lighter or darker than one another. Caughey states “Race itself, a highly charged and significant aspect of American society, is conceptualized very differently through different cultural traditions” (p. 16). The cultures that I am a part of, happens to be African American and Caucasian. My great grandmother was Caucasian, but because I never met her, she died long before I was born; l by no means was knowledgeable of my Caucasian culture, until I became a young adult.
However, now that I am an adult, being a part of both an African American and Caucasian culture. I can definitely see the differences when it comes to national cultural traditions, with African Americans and Caucasians. Gender Gender is distinguished as the state of being a male or female and is primarily set in when a mother has her child. If the child is a girl they put pink on her because it is more of a feminine color and for a boy he wears blue because it is more of a masculine color. These roles are recognized from an extremely young age and pressed on children so that they maintain it.
Gender plays a meaningful role in shaping the way that many of us think about others in society. Such as everyone has responsibilities, but being a daughter, my responsibilities were not and are still not the same as my brothers. My responsibilities of being a daughter include learning how to nurture, respecting my parents and being obedient, and prepare to be a mother and produce children, which are also roles that society put on a woman. Growing up, my mother always talked to me more than my brothers about one day having a family of my own.
She taught me how to love unconditionally, be nurturing, to support and encourage others because someday I will be a mother. Ethnicity Ethnicity deals with the language, cultural, nationally, and ancestry. The language that I speak is English and the cultures that I am a part of are school, work, society, music, sports, volunteer work, religion, and political. I express my identity through various cultures, for instance; my religion is Christianity. Donahue and Benson (1995) “identified a positive association between adolescent religiosity and the presence of prosocial alues and behavior” (p. 704). Christianity is a major part of my life and has truly shaped my identity; it has formed me into the beautiful woman that I am today. My mother raised all of her children up in church and we rarely missed Wednesday night bible studies and Sunday morning service. As I became a young adult I wasn’t attending church because my mother required me to, I was attending church because I desired to. In respect to this, Christianity encourages me to remain on a path of success, motivation and making the right decisions.
Being African American also makes me appreciate my ancestors that laid the groundwork for me to have freedom to choose the right choices that will make me proud of being an African American woman. Disability I was born a twin and research studies show that with twins there is a high percentage that one twin may have speech impairment. Studies were proven correct because I was twin (a), the one who had the severe speech impairment. Growing up and not being able to speak properly had a major impact on my life.
My speech was so severe that my mother and father use to tell me that they felt bad because they were my parents and they couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. Thanks to my twin sister, she knew everything that I was trying to say and she would translate for me. I begin to take speech classes in kindergarten up until I was in the 5th grade. I never knew that my speech problem was so severe until I began school and all the other children begin to laugh and make fun of me because of the way I spoke, they would tell me “I spoke like a baby”.
Schmitt states, “From a human interest perspective, speechlanguage therapy provides an environment where children are understood and supported in their communication attempts” (p. 24). It wasn’t until I start going to speech classes that I felt comfortable going to school. I went to my speech classes three times a week, one on one up until I was in 4th grade and then I began going with a small group of children. Schmitt also states “Descriptive studies of current SLP practices indicate that over 75% of children with Ll in the public schools receive pull-out therapy, regardless of age or language need” (p. 5).
My mother said that the speech program at my elementary school was extremely awesome. She said that it took a team to help me overcome my speech problem because the speech classes didn’t stop at school. When I came home from school, she would also work with me. My mother and speech teacher wanted the best for me, which was to ensure that I had a bright future. Overall, having a disability such as speech impairment has shaped my life because it engages in every aspect of my life such as articulation, reading and comprehension.
Conclusion In conclusion, Caughey says, “Analytic categories such as race, gender, class, ethnicity, disability, nationhood, and sexual orientation is important in understanding many aspects of American society partly because they help reveal lines of power, inequality, and oppression” (p. 47). Race, gender, class, ethnicity, and disability shape the understanding of all individuals. They each influence the characteristics of life and they construct the incidents of each person in society and they are all everyday significances in our American Society. Overall, my life experiences are things that are constantly shaping me.