My Cultural Identity

Using the quotation below as a starting point, reflect on the role that culture plays in your life. “Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, chair of the Council of the Humanities and director of the Program in Humanistic Studies, Princeton University.


At a strange intersection of customs exists my cultural essence; I am the product of an infinitely improbable arrangement of DNA. Seemingly, Fate threw darts at a board to select my parents from the world’s population, and just this once they landed on a Nicaraguan war refugee that I affectionately refer to as “mom” and an nth generation Irish naval corpsman from the suburbs known to me as “dad.” Such is life, and Austin came to be a child of divided culture: a child of two languages, two families, two coexisting and yet so vastly different identities.

Mom’s dancing in the living room to her favorite Zumba workout tape, and Dad’s sitting in the kitchen, screening some Discovery special as he diligently finishes his paperwork; I exist as the fusion thereof.

My Nicaraguan heritage is a subtle presence in the otherwise culturally homogenous sphere of vanilla blandness that is Fairview, Pennsylvania. However, upon visiting my family in Miami, I’m treated to the cultural variety that is the essence of what it means to be Hispanic. Two springs ago, my family and I found ourselves at the Calle Ocho festival, in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana. It was an awakening to the heritage I had yet to fully acknowledge; my integration into the...

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