In today’s society, everyone has their own individual perspective of what ethnic and cultural identity mean for their family culture. Understanding your family cultural group is essential in regards to values, norms and beliefs. Culture identity allows you develop a self-conception and self-perception. This is in relation to nationally, ethnicity, religion, social class, race, and gender. For me, my cultural and ethnic identity is who I am and what | have evolved into based on the aspects of how I was raised as a child and what I have acquired as an adult.
I consider myself as a 23 year old African American woman, who has a mixer of many different ethnic backgrounds. According to the book, we are the most widely dispersed ethnic group in the United States, both geographically and economically. I was born and raised in Miami, FL but my mother, mom and father is from the Bahamas My father mother is originally from Nassau and his father’s family is from an Indian tribute, that I have yet to find the name of. But my grandfather’s mom was also a product a slave and master affair.
In result of my mother and father parents being mixed with so many different cultural groups, I have just narrow it down to African American. Even though I am from a mixer of ethnic groups, I am proud to be identified as an African American. Our family ethnic identity is a combination of Bahamian and Black attributes. Considering my family origins and adaption to society definition of cultural identity, we view culture as anything learned by social aspects of human life. My family values are those similar to others, we value God as our lord and savior, we value family and friends over materialist things.
Based on research from the course textbook, the author believed that there are four factors that have shaped African American experience and culture. From the four factors presented in the book, African legacy, is a factor that I would associated my family culture. Because we pride ourselves on being rich in culture, customs, and achievements ‘We may not be rich in money but we’re rich in family, health and strength”, this is a quote my grandmother always say. We value not hurting others and always standing up for what you believe in.
As a family we believe in working hard for success and understanding that you should always be opened-minded to new things. Understanding that you should treat everyone equally, regardless of ethnicity, race and sexual orientation. Other beliefs and norms would be showing compassion, growing spiritually and intellectually, being proud of achievements, and making education a priority. For example, the book stated that African Americans are “doing orientated” meaning doing is an active mode. According to the textbook, it involves initiating activity in pursuit of a given goal.
It tends to be associated with societies where rewards and status are given on the basis of productivity and accomplishment. This is definitely a value for my family, we believe that if you do your best work and be productive with whatever you want, then accomplishments should come. Many of our family norms are ones that were discussed in our class discussions, such as going to church and helping out in the community and having a sense of family in the community. For my family it is the norm to have Sunday dinner directly after church, this shows unity and allows the family to feel that the week ahead will be productive.
One way in which we incorporate our Bahamian heritage into our norms, is as a family once a year, we take a cruise the Bahamas. Aside to that, when one of our family member pass away, instead of having the wake at a funeral home, we being the body home to spend our last night with our love one. I am aware for some cultures this is unheard of but for my family it is normal. According to the book and class discussions, ones social class can be defined as group in society having similar or the same economic, political and sometimes even cultural status. I consider myself and my family as a members of the lower middle working class.
Only because my mother and step father are not lawyers or doctors. My mother has worked for Miami Dade county community action agency for over 21 years and my step father has been a correctional officer for over 20 years. In addition to my mother working for the county she also has owned a small accounting business, called Wade’s Tax Service, for 11 years now. My mom has her masters from St. Thomas University and my step dad as an AA from Miami Dade College. We identify as the lower middle working class because we reside in a non-criminal neighborhood not too far from the inner liberty city.
We also identity as the lower middle working class because my parents makes close to 50,000-100,000 a year. Even though I stated we are considered as the lower middle working class, I still consider myself to have areas in which | have experienced privilege. One example, as why I feel as if I have experienced privilege, is because I come from a family of more than one business owners. My biological father mother own her own successful daycare in the inner liberty for over 65 years and my mother, mother has own her own printing shop, since she graduated high school in the 1980’s.
I have had the privilege for over 10 years to witness the greatness of entrepreneurship and success. Because of this, I have started my own business that has been in the works for a year now. Aside from that, other areas in which I have experienced privilege are the fact that we always had health insurance, life insurance and a family attorney. Also because we live in a great neighborhood, that some would not expect us to reside in because of our color. I also experienced privilege because I had a car since the 11th grade of high school and my mom was fortunate enough to have me and my sister both super sweet sixteen.
In fact, as a child, I had the privilege of attending good school and participating in extracurricular activities. Some would say we are more than privilege because based on statistics the average African American family has little to no college education and minimum wage jobs, living in the inner city. My individual cultural sense of identity is similar to my family views but my self-image is based on being strong on self-preservation and family preservation within my black culture.
Having a strong sense of self throughout my black culture and not being heavily influenced by the institutional racism and anger towards other cultures. My cultural identity is based on educating myself, on why my cultural norms, values and beliefs are important to my family dynamics. Because, I come from a family that is heavily focus on education and success, I am striving extremely hard to finish my bachelor degree. Focusing on the significance of economic, social and political factors, aides to the position in which I want to see myself in the next few years.
Economically in the terms of my individual cultural sense of identity, I want to be stable in a home and own my business. Throughout my sense of cultural identity I will economically choose investors or investments carefully. The meaning of social factors within my particular sense of identity is important in the sense of being a part of the middle class. The significance on social factors is also important because being respectful and courteous in my interactions with others from other cultural backgrounds, and volunteering in the community is a part of my sense of identity.
Political factors significant to those of how I view my sense of cultural identity is surrounded around respecting the law even though it was not made to protect those of the African American race. Other political factors are similar to those of my family in the sense of treating others equally regardless of race, ethnicity, religion and culture. There are not many differences between my family origins perspective versus my own perspective. The main difference within my own perspective and my family’s origins is the concept of self-preservation.
I stated this as a difference because I view self-preservation as a protecting mechanism to preservative my African American views and to protect what I believe in for my culture. Ultimately, cultural identity is important in every aspect of life regardless of ethnicity, race and social class. Your ethnic and culture identity is who you are, what you do and what you stand for. As an African American, I am confident in my cultural and ethnic identity because it reflects my ancestors pride within my culture.