Cultural Identification

20 10 2009

Since the day I moved into the dorms my freshman year at USF, I have realized that we are surrounded by the topic of racial and cultural identification. I tribute this fact not only because USF is comprised of such a diverse student body, but that the school supports, with such enthusiasm, this diversity. USF has 17 clubs that are culturally centered; one of which is USF Kasamahan. Also, USF has many culturally focused study programs, majors, and courses (from French, Japanese, Spanish, Latin American, Asian Pacific, Chinese, German, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, to Russian). This course, Knowledge Activism, is one strong example in which we are studying various issues and aspects of the Filipino and Filipino American community focusing on how we can positively impact it.

Another factor of why cultural identification is a major topic, I believe, is because as each individual grows older most often we search for a group to belong to, which will give meaning, value, and support to us in our lives. I have witnesses thus far in my life that, our own judgment/measurement on how well we fit into the cultural group with which we want to identify has a major impact on our mental/psychological health. It seems as though people who have immigrate to the United States and have lived here for numerous years struggle with where they fit because their habits, beliefs, and practices become a morphed/mixed version of both American and what other culture they previously identified with. This is a big topic (as it just came up on tonight’s episode of “How I Met Your Mother” when Robin struggles with the fact that in the US she is identified by others as Canadian but when back in Canada she is identified by others as American) which many people can relate to today. We especially discussed on this in our class when discussing Filipino History which was completely intertwined with US History. I learned that the interactions between Filipinos and Americans (and the Spanish) have and continue to effected Filipino, American, and Filipino-American identities.

I am interested to see how this issue progresses in the years to come as the American population becomes more diversified. In the mean time I am proud to be from the Bay Area and having grown up surrounded by so many different cultures. I wish to see more parts of the US embrace, learn about, and participate in the practices of other cultures the way that the Bay Area and California does. I hope that other universities will embrace diversity the way USF does and offer classes like our Knowledge Activism course in which students can strengthen their roots or expand their knowledge/understanding to make for better lives for everyone. It is critical for us to have organized places to learn about and discuss cultural topics. Mediums such as this blog are critical to spark and spread conversations. It also helps to form more of a comfort in discussing cultural topics which were previously labeled sticky situations or taboo topics. I am excited to be learning about the Filipino Community as I have not known anything distinctive (meaning, its differentiation from other cultures) about it before this course. While reading other classmates’ blogs, I am realizing how each of us brings such different ideas and perspectives to the topics we are exploring in this class, and that is a tribute to what an advantage it is to having diversity in our friends, classmates, coworkers, and lives.
-Bobbie

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