Being a member of two marginalized groups, there are many times I have been the target of or witnessed microaggressions.Unfortunately it is not just members of the dominant culture that are guilty of these transgressions towards other cultures. For instance.I am constantly being told that I speak in a very proper manner. Although I have become accustomed to certain comments about my diction, it really bothers me when a Black person says I really ” sound White.” It’s bothersome because they are unwittingly supporting the stereotype that Blacks speak poorly and so should I.
This week’s assignment has made me aware of the effects that prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes has had on me as a female minority.No matter how confident I am as an intelligent, compassionate human being, I must always deal with people that feel they know me based upon societies stereotypes.
“ Culture is your family heritage, and diversity refers to your unique qualities.”
“Culture refers to race and ethnic background.Diversity usually applies to people who aren’t White.”
“ Culture is the values and traditions you learn from your family and community. Diversity is what makes you different from whats considered the social norm.”
The majority of people I spoke with about culture and diversity agreed that culture was not only race and ethnicity but what we are taught by our families. They gave examples of deep culture such as religious beliefs, how we express ourselves,values and even how we discipline children. I was surprised that most people paused before saying that diversity is what makes us unique in some way.way. No one mentioned speaking another language or sexual orientation in our discussions.
The discussions I had about culture and diversity did not change or influence my thinking in any way. However, I did find it interesting that some people were visibly more uncomfortable than others when the conversation began.
The three items that I would select to carry with me to my new community would represent my family culture at different stages.
1. My maternal grandmother’s gold wedding band. She and my grandfather were married for over 50 years and she never removed her ring. She explained that when your husband places a ring on your finger its forever. So it came as a surprise on a cool September day in 1974 when she removed it and gave it to my grandfather. She passed away a few days later. I was 12.
2. My Lladro porcelain baby. It was a gift from my first husband to celebrate the birth of our first daughter. It represents the beginning of my new family in a new country,Germany.
3. My external hard drive. A few years ago I spent about a month collecting old family photos from my aunt and her children so I could have them stored digitally. I am an only child whose parents and grandparents are deceased, so its important to have pictures to share with my grandchildren.
Although I would be upset to give up my baby statue and my hard drive I would. The statue has literally traveled around the world with me and ultimately lasted longer than my first marriage, but I can do without it. The hard drive contains copies of one of a kind pictures, but I gave CDs to both my daughters. My grandmother’s ring is priceless and represents the love and commitment they shared. It will eventually be given to my only granddaughter to wear should she choose to marry.
This exercise was somewhat difficult not because of the idea of leaving the familiar; I’ve moved many times. Nor was it the notion of having a limited number of “things”. It was the reminder of how much loss I’ve experienced in my life and the reminder of my own mortality.