Classics English Literature

Chronicling and exploring identity history-

            An individual’s history involves both his past and all factors that affect and determine the individuals’ day-to-day life. Therefore, understanding one’s past and history facilitates an individual’s ability to comprehend and appreciate ones identity and reality. Identity deals with issues and questions that come about based of the fact that one is a person. Everyone is faced with questions on identity at different points in life. Such questions include who a person is, where he came from and what will happen when one dies. An individual’s identity can be described as the thoughts one has about himself when one thinks of himself independently. Identity is a critical factor in an individuals’ ancestral and personal history. Since an individual’s history determines his identity, it provides an effective basis to study and understand the identity or history of both the individual and his cultural or ethnic group.

I am a girl aged nineteen years living in New York with my parents and family. Currently, I am in college but working part time. I have two older sisters who together with my parents act as my role models. They have had significant influence in my life. I am a Christian fully integrated into the church through baptism. Being brought in a strictly Christian family, I have acquired Christian values that direct my life and guide me in all I do. Looking at my life, I believe that I am around for a number of reasons. The main reason why I am here is so that I can positively change my society and improve the kind of life my family leads. I have lived with my family since childhood and I intend to live with them for the next five years. I believe that this stay with my parents and around the neighborhood will help me evaluate and understand my family and society more. It will ensure that I realize and appreciate some of the problems and limitations my family and society face in their day-to-day life. This will act as a guide, basis and help me define ways that can help improve my society.

As I said earlier, I live with my parents although work part time. One of the main reasons that explaining why I live at home with my parents is the desire to exchange ideas, views and opinions on different issues in life such as culture and politics. Since my parents have been around for long, I believe they will share most of the immense knowledge they have gained over time. Living with my parents also provides an opportunity so that I can get an opportunity to serve them and care for them. This is to allow me help them out in their daily chores and learn from them. Living with my parents has provided a chance to learn and appreciate my culture and history. I believe that there is one a lot one has to learn from the parents on life, traditions, values and beliefs. This is only possible when one lives close to his family and parents. I am also in school. This has been motivated by a number of reasons. The main reason behind joining and persisting is school is to gain knowledge. Being in school will make my life better, more comfortable in future and help me improve my society. School also provides a socialization point helping me learn and understand other cultures. Apart from school, I also work part time. This helps earn some pocket money and a basic understand of the business world.

An analysis of my early life and past helps understand and appreciate how I ended up where I am and how I am today. The need to learn and gain knowledge has over the years being the main reason behind my school life. I was able to go through the different education levels mainly because of my high level of self-belief, hard work and encouragement from my parents. The fact that my parents took me to the best schools has always been a great motivation for me. This has ensured that I receive the best in education and fully benefit from the school system. My two older sisters have also played a major part in ensuring that I got to where I am today. They acted as roles models and guided me through my early school life. The need to be great has been a factor in how I am today. I have always focused on my school life to ensure that I excel in my studies and exceed the achievement my sisters and parents made in education. The two were instrumental in my earlier years of school helping me with my homework and explaining concepts I failed to understand in school. Finally, I have been able to get to the level I am in school because of the trends set in my life on education. Almost everybody in my extended family has been to the university. Young family members are called upon to ensure that they at least get to the university level. The family tradition has been a source of motivation.

Other than influence from the family, a number of external factors have played a part in my achievement and in the determination of where I am today. In my school life, teachers have been influential ensuring that I progress in my school life. They ensured that I understood all they taught facilitating my movement through the grades and levels. My classmates have also facilitated my progress through the school system. This has been possible through revisions and groups discussion with them. In my part time work, presence of co-curricular activities in school has played a part in ensuring that I am able to work part-time. The various skills acquired through the engagement in the co-curricular activities have made it easy for me to involve myself in the part time work. An example of such skills is time management, which allows me to engage in my schoolwork and work part time. The presence of guidance and counselors, career and motivation talks in school were also helpful in ensuring that I was able to achieve what I have achieved. They ensured that I never lost my goals and objectives in life. However, several factors have made it hard for me to attain the different things I have been able achieve. The greatest hindrances are cultural and economic factors. Most people believe that black girls should not work hard in school. This limits my level of performance and progress in my education life. In my quest for academic knowledge, I have been made to believe that girls are not supposed work very hard in their studies. An average grade is considered great for a black girl. I joined college one and half years ago.

As an American, I believe that I have great purpose in my country. I therefore intend to gain as much academic knowledge as is possible to inspire progress and change in society. One of the areas that I aim to inspire contribution in is in the education sector dealing with girl child. Although the state and various organizations have done a lot to encourage the education of the girl child and provide equal opportunities, I still believe that there is still a lot to be done to provide more opportunities to girls in society. I aim to establish an organization that will promote the education of the girl child. I also intend to work hard and perform excellently in my schoolwork to ensure that I serve as a role model to younger girls in school. I intend to do research on girls’ involvement in my society and device ways and structures that can help ensure that there is improvement in the performance. I believe that my aspirations, views and values towards are in line with those of the society.

To understand my family and ethnic group, a number of people provided an effective basis. I had discussions with a number of people who provided knowledge on different family issues such as education, religious beliefs. The discussions also helped understand ethnic and societal issues such as societal expectations, issues on gender, class, race, ethnicity and religious beliefs. The first discussion was held with my grand father who stated that minimal changes have occurred in the family as generations progressed. He stated that the basic structure of the family has over the years being the nuclear family. This shows that there family has not changed with change in generation. He stated that most of the things the family engages in are guide by the ethic and cultural beliefs. For instance, he said that practices and engagements such as holidays, language and mode of communication in the family are guided by the traditional beliefs. Discussions with my uncle confirmed this. An analysis of my ethnic group showed that this is the case as most families are founded on the nuclear structure with the man been in charge of the family.

Discussions with my father, uncle and grandfather helped identify a number of areas where changes have been observed in my family and ethnic group. The discussion showed that great changes have been observed in various art forms that characterize our family. For instance, there has been great change in the kind of music listened to by my family and society. The discussions showed that earlier on, music was used to maintain history, educate the people, relieve of human suffering and transmit particular messages. Currently, the kind of music listened to in my family only serves to entertain. The change has also been observed in the country where only a small percentage of music listened to contains minimal educational content. However, the discussions showed that there are songs that have been sung and preserved in my family ethnic group. An example of such music is the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” This song has been taught to all members of our family and is always sung in a number of occasions and church events. For instance, it is sung in the celebrations of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The discussions indicated that the song is popular among African Americans because it represents the struggles the black people formerly went through.

The interview with my uncle and grandfather that like in other ethic groups, dance has been part of my family and ethnic group since time in memorial. I am a dancer and my siblings have always been involved in dance. Dance is a popular practice and forms a critical part in my ethnic group. Popular dances that most African Americans engage in include the “Get down” and the “Ring shouts.” Dance is taken be part of everyday life. It depends on the occasion and location. This shows that minimal changes have in the practices of the family and ethnic group. Another form of art that is popular in my family is literature. All my sisters and my parents have had a passion and engaged in literature while in school. I also have a passion for literature. However, this is unique to our family as literature is not popular among African Americans. The unique trait must have been influenced by my grandfather who loved literature. This shows that a person’s history can shape his identity. Although English is the main language of communication, my family and most African Americans use variations of the standard American English mainly in non-formal occasions. For instance, in our family, the kind of English used can be said to have some elements of pidgin. This is also the case in my ethnic group where pidgin-like English is used in non-formal settings. Again, this confirms that a person’s past determines his identity.

Discussions with my grandfather showed some social occurrences had particular influences on my family. For instance, it showed that the movement of Africans to America to provide led to the abandonment of traditional religions in favor of Christianity. Christianity has been the religion practiced in the family lineage. My family is established on Christian values. My uncle’s family is also Christian. All the members of the extended family are Christians. All the members of our family are baptized. They participate in various religious occasions such as Easter and Christmas celebrations. This family practice is also observed in my ethnic group. Most African Americans engage in Christianity. However, their practice is unique as it is influenced by some aspects of the African Culture. For instance, church services are characterized by passionate and heavy singing, dancing and shouting. This compared to other ethic groups helps illustrate how a persons’ past influences his identity. The practice of early Africans ensures that people today are energized in their worship. A small number engages in other religions such as Islam and Judaism.

A number of stories were common during the discussions help with three. The stories showed that the occurrence of particular events led to the kinds of foods we eat today in my family. They stated that the foods popular in the family today were influenced by historical occurrences. Poverty together with economic and racial oppression meant that persons of my Ethic tribe were not to eat particular foods such as better cuts of meat. This inspired creativity among the earlier Africans that led to the development of special African-American foods. One such example is the “soul food” which they stated was initially made of locally available and inexpensive products. This was made of products that were cheaply and readily available. They stated that the foods were rich in starch and fat to as the occupation of Africans were physically demanding. This led to the present popularity of the food in the community. This story is true as this type of food is popular in both my family and ethnic. The fact that it is rich in starch and fat has however led to the increase in cases of heart diseases and obesity in African Americans.

Discussions with my father, uncle and grandfather helped show a number of holidays and occasions observed regularly with great essence in our ethnic group. These events are observed both in my family and in ethnic group. They stated that these events are essential for a number of reasons. For instance, they help celebrate and appreciate particular traits concerning our culture that had previously been ignored. For instance, the Black history month is observed every year and helps celebrate our history. Another popular event is the celebration of Martin Luther’s birthday. My uncle and grandfather who participated in the civil rights movement places place great emphasis on this event. The “Kwanzaa” is another holiday on which my family places great emphasis. This holiday involves celebrating the African Heritage and significance of both the family and community by feasting together. During this holiday, all members of our extended family come together eat together, give each other symbols of heritage and discuss various issues on the African American community. This provide and integration sitting leading to peace and love in the family.

Discussions with the three showed that political instability had some impacts on my family and my ethnic group. Political instability had some social effects on my family and ethnic group. For instance, the Black History Month and the Black Music Month resulted from political instability that had been experienced in the country because of political instability. The two were established to commemorate the experiences and struggles of the Black people. Political volatility The holiday, “Emancipation Day” celebrated in my family and section of my ethnic group resulted from political injustices. Discussions with my uncle and grandfather indicate that political instability affected my family in a number of ways. Firstly, racial oppression prevented my grandfather from getting any formal employment. This limited his financial capacity preventing him from providing my father and uncle with the best opportunity in education. This ensured that my father did not quality education. However, the elimination of the racial discrimination has ensured that my sisters and I receive quality education. This is one of the many differences between my extended family and I.

In conclusion, this analysis indicates that history determines a person’s identity. For instance, in this case, I have realized that I am hardworking, resilient and persistent because of the kind of past I have. My fore fathers had to struggle and endure suffering to achieve their goals. This has been passed down the family line to us. I realize that I am a Christian because the persons in my past were Christians. They influenced my religion. This analysis also shows that history distinguishes between various ethnic groups and people as persons with different pasts will have different identities.


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