Q1. Describe your Ethnic Identity.
Human beings always have an overwhelming instinct of ‘we-ness’ in them which explains the formation of groups on an intra-societal scale. It is a commonly observed fact that people usually foster relationships with people if there is a common ground between the two individuals. This common ground can be of various forms, it can be the economical problems that they encounter, the similar experiences of life that they have gone through or it can even be the presence of similar interests in miscellaneous and spare time activities like reading or for sports that may facilitate in laying down the foundation of such a relationship between the two. This leads to the categorization of other people that may not possess similar common grounds or even on different societal elements. Next is the identification stage through which an in-house intra community is formed that marginalizes other people that are different from us in some of the ways that have been mentioned earlier and lastly, is the instinct of comparison through which we intentionally try to germinate differences by creating a wall that sidelines us from the rest of the out-group that is different from us. Hence, in one way or the other the formation of racial grounds and elements in one way or the other is inevitable for the members of the society. (Jacobson, 2009)
I am a born American who was born in Chicago, Illinois. Although my parents were also born in United States but they are the offspring of immigrants from Italy and Guatemala. However, they both became orphan at an early age and sent to the same orphanage. My parents met at the orphanage and at their teen ages decided to live together and started their own family. My father was 16 and my mother was 15 at that time.
Q2. What language/languages were spoken in your home?
My parents are fully aware of the problems faced by children whose first language is not English. They themselves faced the same problems and so they knew, from very beginning, that children who do not speak English, or speak it only as their secondary language, will encounter difficulties in United States schools. Therefore, my father would always insist on speaking English and he did it very strictly and quite religiously. As the famous saying goes “Do in Rome in as Romans do,” my father wants us to only speak only English.
Even mathematics achievements can be adversely affected by speaking a language other than English in the home. However, language barriers can be more subtle. English-Speaking students from minority or low-income backgrounds can face language discontinuities in school. In other words, the way their parents question and talk to them does not correspond to that used by most teachers. This mismatch between language used in the home and that demanded in the classroom can cause serious difficulties for some children.
Due to these difficulties, my parents allow only English to be spoken at home. Although my mother’s family speaks Spanish at home but my father and mother strictly adhere to the principle that they and their children only speak English at home.
Q. What cultural/religious symbols do you remember form your childhood?
Both my parents are Catholic and so am I. My parents become orphans due to the deaths of their fathers. Sunday used to be a special day in our household. We went to church. Both my parents worked and with them we also celebrate Sunday as a special day. My mom would make a big Sunday dinner. Sometimes relatives would visit us. In winter we would watch family classic on TV .In the summer we would go to beach or visit my aunt and uncle that had a pool.
Q Describe the celebration that were important to you?
All the religious and social events are important from me and I love to celebrate them. From my childhood, I remember to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas (Church and Santa present), New year’s Eve and day , Valentine’s day with Valentine cards for the other children at school, Easter Sunday Church, Easter dinner with aunt and uncles, Three summer holidays, family gatherings and picnics and Halloween with trick or treating.
Q. What were you told about people different from you?
Many traditional and conservative families like mine do view people from other ethnic groups as a part of the society but only on external basis, internally for all of us they are still an outcast or just another racial unit with whom we cannot form sustainable relationships.
Jacobson, Jerry (2008). Race and Your Community. Retrieved on March 19 from: