Constructing My Cultural Identity Essay

6019 Words Jun 6th, 2014 25 Pages
The Alberta Journal of Educational Research

Vol. 54, No. 3, Fall 2008, 272-282

Erica Neegan
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto

Constructing My Cultural Identity: A Reflection
on the Contradictions, Dilemmas, and Reality
This article provides a critical reflective analysis of my life growing up in Jamaica where I
attended colonial school, to making the transition to high school in the Canadian context. I
examine the elements that have influenced my cultural/racial identity as a person of
African ancestry living in the diaspora. I ask questions such as how has colonial education
influenced my cultural identity and how I see myself? I address the complexity of my racial
and gender identity drawing
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This makes it especially significant to tell my story as
a Black woman experiencing life in Canada. However, sharing one’s story can
be painful. Yet it can also be a liberating and transformatory experience. hooks
(1993) writes, “Telling the truth about one’s life is not simply about naming the
bad things, like exposing horrors. It is also about being able to speak openly
and honestly about feelings and experiences” (p. 27).
At the same time, it must be noted that Black women’s experiences are not
homogeneous, but they do share a distinct form of oppression. By using a Black
feminist framework, racialized and gendered individuals can collectively mark
their presence in the world where Black women have for so long been denied
the privilege of speaking (Mirza, 1997). Furthermore, Parmar (1987) points out
that being cast in the role of the Other—marginalized and discriminated against
not only in everyday discourse, but also in the grand narratives of European
thought—Black women have fought to assert privately and publicly their sense
of self, a self rooted in particular history cultures and languages. Thus the
experiences of women of African descent are crucial to Black feminist thought.
In turn, Black feminist theory captures our experiences and helps us to reconstruct our lives in a positive form.
In conjunction with Black feminist theory, I also take on an anticolonial,
discursive framework…

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