Identity is the set of characteristics persons recognize as belonging uniquely to themselves.
This case study illustrates a person from African American identity who is from a different race, culture, socio-economic status, gender and age group. When I was born, there were different expectations for a person of my identity as a black American. This is because the development of any child’s social expectations in an ethnically diverse setting including enculturation, which means being aware and acquiring the social norms of one’s own ethnic group, and acculturation referring to the process of learning or borrowing elements from other ethnic groups. Social expectations help in reflecting the implicit norms concerning the necessary feelings and behaviors in specific situations, norms that differ because of sub cultural and national groups (Freeman, 1998). When I was a teenager, my family and peers in my culture and in the dominant culture were supportive of various norms, values, and gender roles. The reason is that humans require social experience to be able to learn more on their culture for survival purposes as it is only human creatures that depend on culture rather than instinct to ensure survival.
Basically, culture involves the values, norms, beliefs, behaviors and gender roles that makes up a person’s way f life. It includes the intellectual, artistic, physical, and moral values. The values and norms supported by my family, my peers and the dominant culture include those values that underlie our preferences, guide our choices and indicate what we hold worthwhile in life.For instance, I was made to not only master but embrace these values such as goals, ideals, religious beliefs, dressing code or habits, language, folklore, customs, humor, and behaviors that serve as standards for social life (Ophella, 2002). Other values and norms supported include adaptable family duties, respect for the seniors, strong work orientation, and proud of heritage meaning that it’s hard for people to forget about their origins.
While blacks in America have African roots, they are seen as American people, hence, living in America. Africans also are part of European people. This makes it automatic for the dominant culture of the Americans to accept the African American’s norms, values, and even their gender roles. When I was a young adult, I suffered in terms of academics because of the segregation and racial discrimination performed against the African Americans. The disparities in employment status were quite significant by race, with the white Americans high school drop-outs much more likely to be employed than the African American grraduates. However, with time and especially after the civil rights movement, the circumstances changed allowing us the African Americans to have a chance in acquiring education like any one else in America and also be able to get employment opportunities depending on the merit.
For instance, the type of work and level of wages available to the young adult applicants changed a lot particular to the young men interested in joining the labor forces. Because of the reduction in manufacturing industries, there were few jobs for unskilled workers and also fewer young adults were able to find employment so that they could support themselves (Eyerman, 2001).The generational roles as a grandparent that make up my core identity include fighting hard to eliminate discrimination in terms of racism and also to ensure justice to all the Americans in spite of their color, language, religious background, or gender. There was the promotion of a particular language that favors all races and this included English speaking language.Therefore,with elimination of racism and other injustices committed against the African Americans,education,and employment opportunities were opened up to all the citizens. And through this, African American was able to help shape the western values and also close up the gap of western ideals and practices.