Racewill be particularly scrutinized because the individual interviewed, Alesha (orLee), is a female of Italian/Irish-French-German descent, whereas I am anindividual of Mexican/Chinese descent. There are certainly discernibledifferences in the growth of an upper-class White female and the growth of aminority female, and it is my purpose to dissect those differences and explicatethem in sociological terms, while touching upon how the issues of class andgender also have an effect. Lee was born into a family that was already very economicallyestablished due to the fact that her parents had her relatively late in life. She was born into a large family of three brothers and one sister, though allwere the children of her parents previous marriages, and the only one that livedwith her during the entire time that she lived with her parents was her sister,who was ten years older than her, yet the closest in age. Thus it would seemthat her father had had considerable time to establish himself as the owner ofthree supermarkets in New York.
Her mother was a domestic engineer. Lee’s family greatly values owning material things that are conducive tocomfort. This evident in the mansion in which they inhabit, and the luxuries,such as the extravagant vacations taken and the numerous cars, and boats, theyown. I was born into a newly economically established family. I am theyoungest of two children, but was raised for the most part as an only childbecause my brother was eight years older and lived with my father during mostof my youth, who left when I was very young.
My mother was the sole supporterof me, economically an emotionally, for most of my life, and the role hat heplayed was very limited. My family values saving money and only spending to impress others. Thisis evident in that everything purchased by our family is very ornate andextravagant, and usually to serve other people’s viewing purposes. Lee’s family background was very influential on the shaping of heridentity.
When she showed a serious interest in playing softball, her fatherconnected with her in this arena of her life, but when she began to show a lackof interest, her father pressured her to continue. This drove her to keepplaying and thus it became a part of her identity, in that softball becamemore than just a game, but part of who she was; it is as if she would not knowwhat to do if she was not playing, even though she does not necessarily enjoy itall that much. Lee’s identity in terms of how she views other ethnicities was alsoinfluenced by family and also exposure to social forces. Lee’s mother and fathergrew up in primarily white, middle class home environments in New York andsegregated from all other ethnicites.
Lee herself lived most of her life inpredominantly all white neighborhoods, which were extremely high class. Sheattended primarily all white high schools and had very limited contact withminorities with the exception of a few Asians She rarely ventured out of hermostly white environment and thus developed strong stereotypes about otherethnicities based on familial influence in addition to things that she viewedin the media, through books, and through entertainment propaganda. I was also greatly influenced by family in the shaping of my identity. My mother valued education and my performance in school was very important toher.
For many years, I took on the almost unrealistic, high expectations of mymother and thus it became part of my identity to always be at the pinnacle of myschool. Later I discovered that not all knowledge comes from learninginstitutions, that in order to be a more “educated” person, I should not takeschool to the extremity that my mother had pushed me to, but explore otherfacets of life as well. So, my mother’s exertion of pressure on me to well inacademic arenas caused me to eventually deviate from her wishes in order toexplore other areas that would thus become part of my identity. My perceptions of other ethnicities that are part of my identity arealso largely influenced by family and environment. My parents grew up in lowerclass homes in minority dominated inner city Los Angeles, and had far moreexposure to other minorities than whites.
I was born into a primarily whitearea, but only stayed for about the first eight years of my life. After that Ilived in an extremely culturally diverse area, and attended schools that werevery multicutural. Thus my experiences with such rich diversity made me open toevery ethnicity. Lee’s aspirations in life consist of maintaining the same level ofcomfort , as her parents have furnished for her her entire life except shewishes to do this on her own. She is unsure of what avenue she would like topursue in school, but she is somewhat pondering into psychology.
Her aspirationfor living an upper class life comes from her parents who have always given hereverything she desired, not to mention the fact that she has witnessed thedesires of everyone around her being satisfied, which consequently constructedan image of how she should try to live. Her interest in psychology seems tostem from her desire to understand people, being surrounded by her parents whoare controlled by money and who use money as a form communicating feelings. Herlimited understanding of minorities and the issues surrounding them coming fromsuch a segregated area and then being thrust into such a multicultural area, hasalso caused her to question people. My aspirations in life are to better the conditions of life of people,particularly women, in perhaps a law aspect. This interest stems from the factthat my parents, too, are controlled by money and tried to control me in thesame way, telling me that “possessions” will make for happiness, but through myexperiences with them in this regard, I have only found unhappiness. This paper is an example of how the lives of two upperclass females ofdifferent ethnicities are different, even though right now we are in the sameplace.
Category: Social Issues