My Cultural Identity Essay

1002 words - 4 pages

My culture identity, as I know it as is African American. My culture can be seen in food, literature, religion, language, the community, family structure, the individual, music, dance, art, and could be summed up as the symbolic level. Symbolic, because faith plays a major role in our daily lives through song, prayer, praise and worship. When I’m happy I rely on my faith, same as when I’m sad, for I know things will get better as they have before.

There are different disciplines within the humanities, but there is one that I feel that has influenced my cultural identity the most…music. I say music because from the start music told my culture’s history; informed others about deeds or events that had taken place, also, music was and continues to be important in comforting, healing, and during labor. “African American music has evolved through various eras and styles; the powerful melodic lines and the rhythm (the all-important rhythm) remained prominent and influential” (Powell, 2007, p.1).

One way that I’ve celebrated and tried to connect with what I know as my culture is to attend Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas. “According to Welcome to Juneteenth, “this is an annual four day event celebrated in the month of June at Independence Park, in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted by Pape Ndiaye, proprietor of the House of Africa located in Charlotte, NC since 1997” (Juneteenth, n.d.). This family event unifies Africans, African-American, and non-African people and is celebrated with drummers, dancers, faith communities, local talent, special guests, and vendors that sell clothing, jewelry, food, books, art, music, furniture, purses, and much more. One may say we already have a day set aside to celebrate freedom. The Juneteenth website explains:

This important American celebration reminds us that the price of freedom of slaves that ended with a Proclamation of Freedom that was read to the slaves of Galveston, Texas by General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865. June 19th was shortened to the name Juneteenth. Those slaves started the celebration that we know and continue today as the Juneteenth Celebration which is now celebrated all across America, and has now become the African American addendum to our national Independence Day. (Juneteenth, n.d.)

Now, this is what you call a celebration, each year is exciting more and more. I’ve met a variety of people, from various parts of Africa, and from many cities in the United States. I would sum it [Juneteenth Festival] up as a huge family reunion in the park.

Realizing we have more in common than not, when I meet new people, I look at them as individuals. I take into consideration the concrete, the behavioral and the symbolic for they all have their place in a person being who they are. Yes, I wish others could see and gain understanding for other cultures through my eyes. For example, “it is possible to acquire a new culture by becoming disabled, moving to a new country or region, or by...

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