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Identity is the beliefs, personality, expressions, and qualities that make a person or group. Self-identity is a collection of beliefs about oneself. A person can explore their identity by asking themselves the question “Who am I?”. I personally have experienced the feeling of not feeling like the person I want to be or the person that I am supposed to be. Having that kind of confusion is usually normal for people with a large cultural environment. Being confused with our self-identity is something that nobody wants to experience because that makes us uncomfortable with ourselves. People with identity issues tend to be worried all the time about the way others see them. It is important to be a multicultural person by first forming a positive cultural identity. Manning and Baruth authors of Multicultural Education Ethnicity define culture as “people’s values, languages, religions, ideals, artistic expressions, patterns of social and interpersonal relationships and ways of perceiving, behaving and thinking (24). However, cultural identity is also related to race, ethnicity, gender, and all that defines the self.

Cultural identity refers to the feeling of belonging to a certain culture that is attributed to the upbringing of an individual in a given culture. Cultural identity gives a person a sense of belonging and belonging towards their culture. Someone with parents of different nationalities or with different cultural or religious backgrounds can easily fall into disorientation. Everyone wonders more than one time in life if they are doing or being what they really want, and that is fine. It happens too with cultural identity. Some people are not sure if they are American because they were born in the US or if they are Mexicans because both of their parents are from Mexico. Cultural identity is partially inherited since it is quite natural that an individual acquires certain stereotypes, norms, and models of behavior from his/her parents and in the course of time such similarities between a child and parents grow stronger as the child learns more from his/her parents and develops his/her cultural identity. In fact, in such a situation, a child inherits not just the traditions and experience of his/her parents but also the traditions and experience of the whole people, or culture, and naturally acquires the experience of this culture that has been accumulating for decades. Once a particular group dominates an area, it is difficult for diversified outgroups to bring their own culture and belief systems into a society that has already established itself. This breach in cultures is evident at the turn of the 20th century. The efforts of people trying to preserve their cultural identities can bring about hostility and division in society. Sometimes we hear stories about people who were insulted just because they were speaking in their first language at a store.

The transition for a person who emigrates here to the US (or to any other country) is even harder because everyone wants to feel accepted. Some people may think that if they leave their culture a little bit aside and adopt the American culture they will be better accepted. And that can happen, but I think it is better when a person realizes that they can be both, that they can be proud of their own culture. That they do not have to change what they are inside. “I can say that I am a Japanese American. It means I have a place here in this country, too. I have a place here on the East Coast” (Noda, 2001), explaining this quote I can say that Noda Kesaya, a japanese american women, was saying that even though her blood is from Japan she has a place in America too, because she was born here. I feel like that too, my parents are 100 percent Mexicans and they decided that they wanted me to be born here in the US, so because of that I have the right to say that I have a place in both countries.

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Being another nationality other than American here in the United States might lead to “Cultural Inequality”. Every person should be able to have the same opportunities that everyone else does, but what happens when it is not like that? The political scientist Murray Charles stated “For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world—for whites, anyway” (Murray, 2016). Apparently, the US is a country for opportunities and growth, but how true is that? “In 2015, average hourly wages for black and Hispanic men were $15 and $14, respectively, compared with $21 for white men. Only the hourly earnings of Asian men ($24) outpaced those of white men.” (Patten, 2016). For women is the same story but with less pay. You can not change who you are, or your culture, so it is definitely difficult to be at the same level as a white person but that should not stop anyone from trying their best.

Another cultural problem that a person might have to face if they move to the US is the language. Some people who move to the US may have prior knowledge of English but if their not they will indeed have problems at the beginning some of them forever. I personally had to confront that issue, I did know some English, I did understand everything but I was scared of talking. I did not want anyone making fun of me, of course, that never happened I was just scared. It is hard to speak a language that is not yours, it is hard not knowing how to say something, but that was an insecurity constantly present on my mind. Now I am okay, but I know stories of people that have been here in the US for years and they never learned the language. Of course that is a big disadvantage because they do not feel comfortable with simple things like going shopping or going to a restaurant because they are not comfortable with the idea of people not being able to understand them.

It is really important to always try to maintain our personal identity. If a person that moved to the US is scared of losing their identity, they just have to always remember who they are, and where they come from, and if they like their culture they should try to keep their customs alive. Is always good to keep speaking in your first language, it is good to keep cooking food from your culture, to listen to music from your country. By doing that you will preserve your culture and pass it on to your future generations. It does not matter where you came from, or which culture you have, if you feel confused just analyze yourself and remember the things that matter to you. Not being 100% American is not something bad, everyone came from different places. If you want to preserve your identity do it, the world needs multicultural people.

Works Cited

    1. Manning, M. Lee, and Leroy G. Baruth. Multicultural Education of Children and Adolescents. Routledge, 2009. This book is highly useful for the understanding of how children and adolescents experience being or having more than one culture in their lives.
    2. Noda, Kesaya E. ‘Growing Up Asian in America.’ Race and Ethnicity, edited by Uma Kukathas, Greenhaven Press, 2001. Contemporary Issues Companion. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010080208/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC& xid=89326b5b. This article explains in a wonderful and useful way how it feels to identify yourself with more than one culture.
    3. Murray, Charles. ‘Cultural Inequality Is the Problem That Needs to Be Addressed.’ Income Inequality, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010979231/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=5b63e85e. Accessed 17 July 2018. Originally published as ‘The New American Divide,’ Wall Street Journal, 21 Jan. 2012. Murray explains in this article the inequalities that immigrants have to face in the United States. Murray uses data and evidence to prove his statements, making this article useful and high-quality.
    4. Patten, Eileen. “Racial, Gender Wage Gaps Persist in U.S. Despite Some Progress.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 1 July 2016, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/01/racial-gender-wage-gaps-persist-in-u-s-despite-some-progress/ This article was incredibly useful; because it’s statistics, and it’s relatively recent information on wages between races and genders.

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