My Lens - Personal Identity Reflection

I am a white, straight male from the middle class. Since these are historically the characteristics of the social, economic, and political elite that have oppressed many other peoples, I find that people expect me to have misconceptions or overly positive views of the world. My response is to strive to hear everyone’s voice and have opinions based on multiple sources, from different perspectives. I rely on logic to base my understandings. I grew up in the Seattle area, having many opportunities to learn through musical theatre performance and school from an early age. My college background I have so far and my quite privileged high school experience have given me reasoning and critical analysis skills that make my arguments strong, even in stressful situations. This often creates a situation where I expect certain knowledge from people, but since I often do interdisciplinary work I have needed to get used to making academic, computer science, or theatre jargon understandable to any particular audience. I am also a twenty-year-old student, so people generally assume that I am not active in politics or community service. Only until I let them know that I stay informed about politics, vote in every election, and do many personal projects to support the community do they respect me as a complete citizen in debate and discourse.

I think being an American gives me an idealized image of migration. It is a journey towards opportunity and freedom in the American myth, and while that may be the result of the current migrations there are many risks that come with any migration. There is an inherent instability and unknown that comes with the experience, and since I am three generations away from any migration I do not have much personal insight on the experience. However, the reasonably large amount of diversity in the Seattle area as well as my traveling have given me a cultural awareness of those around me. Every culture has their own rules and traditions, and knowing more cultures I can see the peculiar rules in my own. I know I do not completely understand their situation, but I have a willingness to understand their cultures and experience getting to know diverse cultures from Chinese to Egyptian.