Personal Narrative: Identity Limbo

2024 Words 9 Pages
Identity Limbo
For as long as I can remember, I have always been the “outsider” of my family. I speak differently. I dress differently. I act differently. Essentially, according to my family, I am “whitewashed”. Prior coming to college and learning about concepts such as oppression and Critical Race Theory, I naively took pride in my assimilation into “white culture”; to me assimilation meant success. Still, I never felt like I “fit in” with white people. And despite the fact that I am Hispanic and can relate greatly to Hispanic culture, I never felt like I fit in with Hispanic people either. In trying to understand my own “roots”, I used this paper to analyze my parents identity through interviews and by using my own personal perspective.
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She described her childhood as being “tough”, putting much of that blame on her parents - specifically her stepfather. Her biological father abandoned her mother shortly after she was born for unknown reasons. The mechanic her mother married after was an abusive alcoholic who would beat her and my mother when they did a “bad job” of household chores, such as cooking and cleaning. As a young child, my mother remembers seeing her stepfather nearly kill her mother in a chokehold because she did not season his dinner to his tastes. Her mother did not fight back because she believed that it was her duty to “keep her husband happy”. Due to machismo (patriarchal dominance) prevalent in Hispanic culture, her mother believed that domestic labor was more important than education for women. Interestingly, her mother used to be a schoolteacher before becoming pregnant with my mother and quitting. Consequently, her mother considered the high school education required to become a schoolteacher worthless because she ended up as a stay-at-home wife either way. Therefore, she believed that it would be better for my mother to excel in domestic work so that she could “keep her husband happy”. This was her mother 's way of trying to prevent her daughter from suffering domestic violence in the future with her own husband. The machismo present in her family also resulted in her parents putting her needs below that of her four younger …show more content…
Not only do they not have the educational privilege that I have, they also lack the same cultural understanding that I have of “American culture”. As a result, our expectations of one another often clashed. I wanted “white parents” that gave me affection, while my parents wanted a “Mexican daughter” that was submissive. This, in conjunction with the lack of positive hispanic role models that I had, led me to inadvertently viewing my “Hispanic cultural capital” as lesser than “white cultural capital”. It should be noted, however, that I did not listen to classical music and NPR on purpose as a child because it was “white”. I did so because it interested me as a result of my education in the United

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