Personal Narrative: My Social Identity Essay

Social identity can be explained by social identity theory, and according to, Marsiglia, & Kulis, (2015) “social identity theory provides insights into how and why people choose to be part of one or another group and what being a part of that group means to them” (p. 103). In this aspect I will attempt to explain the three social identities that defines who I am today. First, I identify my gender as a man and how my male gender role was defined by the upbringing by my parent’s and society.

Furthermore, how I was supposed to act and behave within the community by being a male from my family. Secondly, I identify as a husband, and how I perceived marriage and what I believed what and how a husband is. Lastly, I will attempt to explain my identity as a United States Army combat veteran and how this identity is defined throughout my community and the country.

Male I identify as a man and there were always speeches spoken to me by my father on how I was supposed to act as a man, I was born in 1967 and a product of the male dominated world, I was often told things like only girls cry, or men are supposed to bring home the bacon, real men have honor always tell the truth. Which I have perceived that men have to work and women had to stay home and take care of the children or clean the house.

Moreover, opening doors for women, standing up when they return from to the table, and always pull their chairs out for them at the table. These were thing I was taught to do to respect the other gender and to be a gentleman. This is related to what I learned from the text in this class, because, according, to Marsiglia, & Kulis, (2015) “the term “gender” refers to social and cultural patterns associated with women and men; in other words, gender defines what behaviors are expected from men nd women in which behaviors are considered atypical or out of bounds” (p. 96). Husband From the day when I answered I do to the marriage vows the priest ask me when I got married on May 20, 1995 to my wife Sharon. Right then I have identified myself as a husband. A protector, provider and a lifelong companion to my bride. I have learned how to be a husband by watching how my father dealt with the marriage to my mother. They have been married for 42 years before my mother died. I have also at a young age watch a lot of television shows such as “Leave it to Beaver” or “Dick

Van Dike Show” and “Wait till your Father get Home” where the message of being a heterosexual male and married and having children was the thing to do, and as a young man aspire to be when I grew up. Happily married the father in those TV shows went to work and the wife stayed home to clean and cook and take care of the children. This reinforce my perception of how to be a husband. Because according, to Martins & Harrison (2012) “it is widely believed that the media play an important role in shaping self-conceptions” (p. 39). I identify as a veteran because I have serve 28 years in the United States Army and seen combat 4 times. Once in Operation Desert Storm, (Saudi Arabia) once Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and twice in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq). And during my last 3 months of service in my transition phase back to civilian sector, I was subjected to countless hours of briefings on the education of veteran benefits to prepare me to become a veteran, ranging from healthcare, education benefits, and job opportunities.

Information from pamphlets and forms including classes and veteran personal account was very helpful to my understanding f my new identity role in society. When people find out that I served in the military, the most common phrase I hear is, thank you for your service. Where I reply thank you. I believe that the people are stereotyping me in a positive way. Because, according to, Marsiglia, & Kulis, (2015) “Stereotypes are beliefs that individuals hold about a members of a group based on generalization about the characteristics of all members of that group” (p. 44).

Misunderstanding Others The first time I misunderstood a race of people was when I was a young man living in Guam during the evacuation of refugees rom Vietnam in the mid 1970’s the refugee where housed on a naval facilities right of the main road leading to one of villages called Santa Rita and I remember going to visit my relatives in that village I would say to my father who are those people and my father would say “those are the fucken Vietnamese” and my father who was stationed in Vietnam when he was in the army was very biased towards them he would say things like” them fucking gooks” or “dinks” , the same feelings were present with the rest of his brothers because of the loss of my uncle Frank who was killed in the war on 1969.

Because, of the loss of my uncle I had listen to racial slurs every time my dad talked about the Vietnamese, I grew up with a disdained feeling towards the Vietnamese people up until I was deployed to that area of the world. I experienced living in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam I realized that they were people just like me and knowing their culture I had realized that I have grown to have a better understanding about their culture and had formed a sense of respect for them as well and presently I have many friends who are Vietnamese.

All the biases and prejudices that as taught to me by my father and uncles was all but forgotten and I do not give it a second thought. I remember another time I have misunderstood a group of people, they were white people because, I was isolated in Guam and Chamorro is the majority race in Guam, I was taught by my grandmother, at a very young age not to trust white people because it was perceived that the white people were untrustworthy and all they want is to take over everything. My grandmother’s biases was brought forth from the occupation of Guam by the Japanese and the liberation of Guam by the US orces in 1945during world war Il and at that time her sense of normalcy was flip into chaos.

My grandmother had experienced some major biases of white and foreign people from her experiences of the war and had passed those biases down to me and my siblings and cousins, throughout my upbringing the prejudices of both Japanese and white people was very exaggerated by my grandmother and when I joined the army and left my home in Guam in 1985 and was further assimilated in the American Culture I had lost those biases, moreover when I took a Caucasian woman as a bride to shatter the my randmothers beliefs and being fully immersed in the American culture I come to believe the falsehood of my teachings of my grandmother and I have fully assimilated in the American culture by living in the united stated for over 30 years, giving up my cultural beliefs and norms I am assimilated to the US culture according to Marsiglia, & Kulis, (2015)“ assimilation is the process of letting go of one’s own culture of origin while incorporating norms and behaviors of the majority or dominate culture” (p. 6).

Being Misunderstood A perfect example when I felt misunderstood, was when I first ame to the United States from the island of Guam, the way my speech patterns in English was often mistaken by me talking broken English or slang from Guam. My fellow soldiers always asked, what are you saying, or asked me to repeat myself. Often they were confused of my mannerisms and behaviors because, it was not the way it is done in America as they said.

For example, I Always talked very loudly and very boisterous when I was excited or eager to come up with solutions or a rebuttal to a statement, this often lead my comrades in believing that I was angry, but it was just not true. In my island culture it was very normal to talk loudly because, as we get excited and very eager to tell our story it is very normal to hear a Chamorro man raise his inflection of his voice to a higher octave while in normal conversation. And even my wife in the beginning of our marriage took it as I was angry until l explained it to her and then she understood and she came to accept that behavior from me. I also realized that this form of communication was confusing the people in my life so I had kept it in mind and refrained in talking that way in a professional way.

Separate ut Equal Mentality The statement said its okay if people stay in their own groups without being forced to interact, but that separate groups should be tolerant of each other from the film Postville, I do not agree with the statement because, not co- mingling with other cultures in the united states breads disaster for instance, both cultures will stereotype each other and only deepen the prejudice each culture already have towards each other as the film stated in the beginning when one of the towns people said that it was a town custom to bake something and sit with the ew comers and welcome them to the town. But, the Jewish newcomers could not accept because, of their customs the Jewish community action without explanation only made the towns people of Postville uncomfortable and made them imagine the worst possible explanation of that situation. The townspeople expected for the Jewish community to adhere to the dominant culture and assimilated not the other way around. In other words acculturation.

According, to Marsiglia, & Kulis, (2015) “acculturation is the process of adapting to a non-native culture that occurs when individuals from different cultures into ontact with each other. Acculturation occurs in two distinct dimensions. Behavioral acculturation relates to that adoption of external aspects of the dominant culture” (p. 8). Marsiglia, & Kulis, (2015) further states, “Such as language and social skills that will allow the individual to fit in. Psychological acculturation relates to an individual’s degree of concordance with the ideologies of the dominant culture wars way of thinking and seeing the world” (p. 8). Without immersion and assimilation to the dominant culture and acculturation only difficult times they ahead for both cultures.