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Cultural Autobiography

Essay by   •  June 12, 2017  •  Essay  •  2,260 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,014 Views

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Cultural Autobiography

My socioeconomic status would be the working class. I'm proud to be a blue collar in my society where I have learned the value of hard work. I'm incredibly blessed to have two driven parents that will literally do anything to make sure that both of their daughters have everything they need in order to be successful in life. My mom cleans houses, apartments, offices while also working as a culinary cook at Olive Garden. My dad works at a Japanese restaurant, does construction work with my uncle and many other tiny projects around town. And my sister and I both work at Olive Garden as well. There was never a time I doubted my parents work ethic and love for us. They also understood the importance of education, since they never got to experience that fully. No matter what it took, my parents promised that my sister and I will go through college and have, in their words, a better life than they did. My mother inspired me to be grateful for what I had, while still shaping my future for the better. My mother constantly reminds me to invest in my education as much as I can because that path is the only way to a prolific life. She would say that when's she's not around anymore she won't have much to give me but the opportunity to be a strong educated young lady. And I can't ask for anything more but to make my parents proud for all the sacrifice and long hours of work they put themselves through.

Now as far as my race is concerned, I identify myself as a Hispanic, because I originated from Mexico. I'm considered to be in the minority subgroup based on the representation of the population and well-being of my society. Being Hispanic has classified me as “Other” since I'm not of the white society in the United States. Yet, my appearance was never a factor in my life. Being Hispanic had led me to be seen as a Hispanic but I didn't affect me as much as being an immigrant that was Hispanic. Being an immigrant made me different because I had to learn a new language and a new lifestyle. But I guess being Hispanic in a place where the dominant subgroup is White, made me more unique in the sense that growing up people loved hearing me talk in Spanish and admiring my skin color because I would have tan olive skin instead of being pale.  So I guess being Hispanic made me a person who others saw as different, and in a society where different is starting to be seen as a good thing, I loved that.

My Latina heritage cost me to be raised with different views compared to the dominant white subgroup that I was mainly surrounded by. I only lived in my birth country for a very short period of time and yet I was never deprived of that culture. During the early few years that I lived there I still celebrated the holidays like Día de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo and even shared the same religious and social views like Catholicism. I got to experience the music of my people that consisted of salsa, bachata, and merengue. When we moved to the United States, I knew that this place would be different. The music was different, the food, the people; it was sort of difficult to blend both cultures because I no longer lived in Mexico. I still experienced my cultural heritage traditions like the music, food, and entertainment that my parents still carried through when moving to the U.S, but I had also another culture surrounding me and for a while I kept thinking that I was both Mexican and in a way American. But once people I knew, both Latino and White, told me that I was more White than Hispanic and vice versa, I realized that I didn't belong to one group. Till this day many people ask me the question about where I was born. It can be very frustrating because I hate the fact that people say I'm not Mexican enough as if there was a scale that judged how “Hispanic” one is. I was born in Mexico from two Mexican parents and therefore I am a Latina and I will never forget where I'm from. Being a Hispanic raised primarily in America has led me to see that my ethnicity does not define me but has introduced me to another community where I can learn and experience something new and different.

Another non-dominant subgroup is my gender of being a female. Growing up in a household filled with women and one guy made my life never feeling suppressed or belittled in anyway. My sister and I grew up playing video games, Barbie’s, and watching TV shows ranging from Pokémon to Totally Spies. School was a place where I really saw the split between girls and boys. It aggravated me to see how such stereotypical views split two genders when it didn't have to be like that. As I grew older I saw how society projected women and how I didn't always fit that criteria. It made me feel small and I wasn't always in love with myself due to society's portrayal of what a woman is.  This wasn't the same thing for being heterosexual, the dominate subgroup. I always saw movies, read books, saw people embrace the heterosexual orientation. I never felt uncomfortable when I held hands with my partner. I lived life not feeling terrified or stress to exhibit my love life, but I know that others did. I started to see the corruption of being perfect and how it was nonexistent. Soon, I had become a person who didn't let my gender become everything I was. And who didn't judge others for what they believed. I hope to demonstrate to many the importance of women and how we shouldn't care what sexual orientation someone choses to be.

As for my language I am bilingual in both Spanish and English. While Spanish is my first language, living in America for most of my life, I speak a lot better English.  It wasn't easy though in the beginning. I learned English in a program called ESL at my elementary school. There are pros and cons to this program, the biggest pro being that I learned English which is a big step for me, but the con was that I was isolated from my classmates which allowed me not to make any friends my first year in school. Instead I was grouped with other students who were learning English. Although I will say one benefactor that aided me in learn English was watching English TV, hearing the local radio, and reading books in English. Now I can speak English fluently without an accent since I started so young. About a year later I was allowed to stay in class which allowed me to interact more with my classmates. Since I missed a whole year and wasn't what others would say “cool”, and as I was still considered the new kid I was bullied because I did not know how to speak the dominant language. I still couldn't fully understand what the other kids would say about me, which made 2nd grade miserable. It got to the point where I wanted to transfer schools, but our school system didn't allow that, so I had to stick it out. But that helped me grow a thicker skin and learn to not hate on others. And since I was the translator for my parents during the first years we lived in the U.S. I was able to improve my language. Overall this was an advantage for me because now I speaking fluently English and because my parents are still persistent about it, Spanish. In the end, I not only learned to fend for myself, but I also learned two languages that will be beneficial in the future.

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