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Stuff

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ashleya128
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“Identity Essay”
“Who am I?” I am Ashley. I am what I like and dislike. I am what I believe in. I am my choices and experiences. I am what I do. I am where I live. I am who others have made me to be and I am who I have chosen to be. Most people do not consider all of the different ways they can be identified. There are countless different things I would use to describe myself and taking this course has added numerous more descriptors to my identity.
The widely accepted definition of culture from Devito does a wonderful job including the things I would use to define my culture. The definition states: “Culture is a relatively specialized lifestyle of a group of people (values, beliefs, artifacts, behaviors, ways of communicating)”. Those are all examples of different aspects of my life that I would use to describe myself. For me, my values and beliefs are a strong sense of who I am. I am also very openly supportive of my values and beliefs. I am not afraid to inform people about how I feel about an issue, whether it is politics or something in athletics. If there is something that I strongly support or I am strongly against people know. I feel that many other people would use my values and beliefs to describe me as well since I make them so known.
Co-cultures do a brilliant job of helping to identify one’s culture. They each describe a different part of one’s identity and combine to form each person as a whole. I can define myself by using several different co-cultures: (I am a 20 year old, Caucasian, and Christian female. I am from Appalachia. My parents are still married and achieve a sizable income together. I am heterosexual but I do support gay rights. I work a part-time job and I am a full-time college student. I live a very busy lifestyle full of different activities such as showing cattle, writing music, playing guitar, singing, farming, helping with high school sports, and going to and watching different sporting events. I don’t support a particular political party but I do have extremely strong views on different political issues. I am opinionated, competitive, talkative, athletic, and sometimes quick to judge others.) This is who I am from using several different co-cultures to define myself and I feel the use of co-cultures is a great way to do so.
When being defined by ascribed identity one is being defined by who others tell you are. My family has always had a strong influence on my choices in life. I have had it drilled in my head that what they think is best, is best. I never actually thought much about it until I was making my college decisions but they have basically formed me into the person they wanted me to be by telling me what I should do, like, participate in, and say. They have told me who to be. I had always wanted to attend The Ohio State University for law school. Unfortunately when the time came to make my final decision, I went with what my mom wanted me to do: go to Cedarville University for pharmacy. While to me that was a negative part of my ascribed identity, there has been a lot of good in my life from being told who I am, and what I should do. One of my most favorite things to do is to show cattle. Showing cattle has given me a lot of opportunities to meet wonderful people I would not have met otherwise and has become a great way for my family and I to bond. Had I not been told I was going to show cattle when I was eight years old whether I wanted to or not, I would probably not be showing now. My family has also instilled a strong competitive drive in me because they always expected me to not only do better than my best, but better than everyone else’s best too. If I had to choose one word to describe myself it would definitely be competitive. I find my ascribed identity to go hand in hand with my achieved identity. At this point in my life I am completely where I want to be. I have developed some aspects of my identity on my own. For instance: my political views, my love for music and theater, and my on-going commitment to sports. However, without the ascribed identity my family has thrust upon me I don’t think I would be at my achieved identity.
By using my results from the Turning Point activity and the “Ten Lenses” set forth by Williams I was described as colorblind, transcendent, an integrationist, a meritocratist, and a multiculturalist. While reviewing myself I agree with these descriptions. I feel the lens that was extremely true to my views was that of being described as a meritocratist. “Cream rises to the top,” the quote used to define this particular lens describes my opinions perfectly. I have always been determined that if you set your mind to something and work hard to achieve what you want, you will succeed. And, for me this has rung true in most of my endeavors.
When we were going over the different social classes I instantly put myself into the category of middle class as opposed to the classes of wealth or poverty before we went over their given characteristics. It was surprising to me how on point the characteristics used to describe the middle class related to me. For instance, I value the quality of food rather than worrying about how much I had or if I enjoyed the presentation. I also view education as crucial part of succeeding in my future. I found the description in the “goal of language” category to be interesting because that is something I have never put much thought into. Negotiation is the goal of language for the middle class and I think that fits me perfectly. I am constantly using tactics of negotiation to get myself what I want. I find my social class to be a very essential part of my culture.
I have always considered myself to be an individual of Appalachia and while many people would look down upon me for that I have always been proud of where I am from. However, I was surprised to find how much I didn’t agree with many of the characteristics that Weller used to describe the Appalachian culture. But, that is just one man’s opinion of what he experienced. Even though I disagreed with many different things I also found lots of characteristics he used that I felt described me very well. The one descriptor that I felt fit me very well was when he described Appalachians to have a fierce independence. I do not like people to help me with anything! People often find me to be rude because I just like to do things for myself and by myself. For instance, I strongly dislike group work because I like things to be done my way and I do not want to have to depend on anyone else for a grade. There are many other characteristics used to define Appalachian culture that I would agree define me as well.
Enculturation is a constant process of learning culture. We are constantly learning new things and expanding our knowledge of culture. With this expansion comes growth and change. We form new opinions on things all the time and we are usually influenced by others or our experiences to make these changes. There is one instance in my life that I can definitely say I changed my viewpoint on something that I now use strongly to describe myself. I was always against homosexuality. I thought it was disgusting and that people were stupid for being gay. I was never mean to anyone about it but my friends knew where I stood on the matter. My viewpoint changed the day my best friend from high school told me he was gay. I didn’t first find out from him; another one of our close friends told me. I was hurt that he hadn’t told me and when I asked him about it he said the reason he hadn’t told me is because I once made the comment that I hated gay people. I felt terrible in that moment at how narrow minded I had been. I didn’t think any different of my friend when I found out and instantly embraced him and told him I loved him no matter what and that I always would. From that point on I have been a strong supporter of gay rights and have been into many heated arguments with people over it. My personal experience made me grow culturally and I am so glad it did.
David Quammen, science writer, once said, “Identity is such a crucial affair that one shouldn’t rush into it.” I could not agree more with this statement. We are constantly changing and should always be open to new cultural views just as I am in my life at the moment. There are many different ways I would describe myself but I don’t need to hurry to define who I am because I am constantly changing.…...

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