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Ethics; My Community And Race (Eth 125)

1834 words - 7 pages

I am an Italian American living in New York. This paper will provide an overview of my experiences within my community and focus on ethnicity and the way race and ethnicity has shaped my own personal life view, as well the way I am perceived by others. I will discuss what I remember of my childhood and what I do not remember but was reminded of by relatives. I will relate the way my parents, grandparents, and other relatives helped shape my world view using their own experiences and different ways of dealing with life’s challenges.I have but a few memories of early childhood, and certainly nothing that stands out in terms of being Italian American. All my relatives are Italian, and most of the children in the neighborhood were Caucasian. I lived in Manhattan's Lower East Side and even though New York had many ethnic groups living in that area most of the places we visited for fun (playgrounds and parks) had mostly Caucasian children and I thought nothing of it. There were other ethnic groups like African and Hispanics that used the park, but not many.My Grandparents both worked, my Grandmother worked part-time at a factory and my Grandfather owned a butcher shop in New York. My family has kept many Italian traditions and I never realized until I look back at it now. For an example, my Grandmother called me “Giuseppe” which translates to Joseph in Italian. My Grandparents did speak Italian, but I never learned enough to become fluent. Respect was a very big issue with my Grandfather and as soon as I had entered their house I had to kiss him on the forehead. I hated to do this, but it is a normal custom for many European countries to show respect.I do remember my first day in elementary school though; I could not wait to get into school. I had been pestering my parents and relatives to buy books and read to me ever since I can remember. I remember my Grandmother saying, “Someday you will learn to read all these yourself.” One can say I was obsessed with learning how to read. I was able to read in the first grade before the Christmas break. I was so far ahead that the teachers called my parents to a conference to find out, “What are we going to do with this child?”The answer, of course, was easy. “Let the child read,” my Mom stated. I’d stay in class for math and social studies, but when it came time for reading in first, second, and third grade, I would go to the library. From what I can remember I was introduced to my first Hispanic women Mrs. Medina who was the schools librarian. Mrs. Medina was from Puerto Rico and spoke with a bit of a strange accent that I had not heard before. Mrs. Medina introduced me into the world of the Dewy Decimal System. (Computers were in existence but not used yet.) For some time Mrs. Hernandez helped me discover my Italian heritage by learning about Italy’s famous artist such as; Leonardo ad Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Donatello who contributed to...

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