Constructing My Cultural Identity Essay

6019 Words Apr 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
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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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