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Race, Class And Gender Through Family

2361 words - 10 pages

In society everyone is categorized under a race; this is what divides individuals according to their physical characteristics which are inherited such as skin color, eye color, and hair color. Many people are easily confused between race and ethnicity, the difference is that ethnicity relates to cultural factors such as nationality, language, and beliefs. In the story “ Life as the Maid’s Daughter” by Mary Romero we explore the boundaries, Teresa one of the main characters has to deal with everyday based on her race, gender and class. We see that living with boundaries creates frustration and confusion within Teresa’s early stage of life.
Teresa is both bilingual and bicultural meaning she can speak two languages and abides by two cultures. Teresa, however, struggles to maintain her Mexican identity due to her mother’s job and her way of life. These struggles that are faced makes Teresa capture the social stratification in the United States at a young age. Teresa was known as the “maid’s daughter” and in preschool she learned about her mother’s social position. Teresa was dragged around with her mother to each employer’s house; it was difficult for her to enter each house because she would have to abide by certain rules in each house. Teresa was socialized by the employers and their children; this is due to the fact Carmen, Teresa’s mother worked for families that would “emphasize [] conformity and change”. This made Teresa act out and run away, the families made no attempt to create an environment where Teresa was able to express her racial background in the way the other children could. “She [Teresa] was clearly different from the other children, “a novelty,” and was bound by rules regulating her use of social space and linguistic behavior.”(105) Without Teresa’s racial identity being valued this made it difficult to maintain the Chicano identity she wanted. It is hard to connect with Teresa through my own experience about my own race because I lived in my own house where no other races were being pushed onto me like Teresa had. I knew there were people with different skin colors but I was young and skin color never impacted me. The reason I was aware of these color differences was through school where there was kids of all different races. In kindergarten was the first time I interacted with people of a different race, this was because my family was all Caucasian along with all the children that lived within my neighborhood. Even though these children in school were of a different race, I believed all people were equal despite one’s skin color, hair color, or eye color.
Teresa’s experience as the maid’s daughter made her recognize the social class that she was a part of. A social class is the wealth, power, and rankings that an individual holds within society. For Teresa she was in a low social class her mother made an inadequate amount of money by being a live in maid. Teresa’s story was highly based on learning rules that were set by...

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