In a society such as ours, during a new millennium, culture and lifestyles vary to the extreme. All across the world, there are many different cultures, and many of these people with different cultures live in the United States. Sometimes, I think we catch ourselves being close-minded about other religions and cultures, because of the way we believe or the way we've been raised by our parents. In most cases the values and beliefs that are held by ones parents have an impact on their children's values and beliefs as well. I am going to look further into the lifestyle of another individual different from me, as impacted by an individual's development and growth. I will determine how different races, religions, and cultures have affected this individual, and compare and contrast her culture from mine.
My interview was with Mary, a 19-year-old female who
lives at home and attends college. She is single, with no
children and still lives at home with her parents. Mary
was born in India, where she lived for twelve years. At the
age of two, Mary's father moved to the United States for
poverty issues, to make a better life for his family. Mary
tells me in India, there were no hospitals really close by,
unlike ours here in America. In India, the doctor came to
the village that you live in, once a year for your yearly
examinations. Mary explained to me that between the ages
of six and twelve, she never really hung out with people
that much beyond school. She didn't have much of an
explanation for it, except that she didn't trust people
enough to have close friendships with anyone.
At the age of twelve, Mary moved to the United States
where her father was living. It was a time in her life
when she just beginning to enter early adolescence, and she
was moving to a country with a total different culture than
she was use to. Her self-evaluation of herself was very
low. She has no idea what to expect when moving to the
United States. It was going to be a total different
experience. Mary was going to have to learn American
customs, what kind of clothes to wear, and how to learn to
speak the English language. People ignored her when she
first moved to the United States so she had a very low
self-esteem and hardly ever wanted to go to school.
Entering the US seemed to take a toll on Mary. During
middle school Mary felt very uncomfortable with her
physical maturation. She had no clue about the style of
clothes to wear and she felt that everyone at school
laughed at her. She said at times, she has been spit on,
hit on, and called names. This made Mary feel very
insecure about herself. Between the years of middle school
and high school, Mary made a transition, and she began to
learn the customs, and the ways of her fellow American
peers. By the time high school came, she started feeling a
lot more comfortable with herself.
She felt she was more mature than other kids at school. It
seemed that most kids her age only cared about how they
looked and who they hung out with, but she didn't care
about any of the things they thought to be important. She feels that by high school
this is why she was a very well liked person. She began to
take up modeling, which gave her more confidence, and then
it seemed that all the guys at school started asking her
out. Mary says that she was never into peer groups. She
didn't feel comfortable hanging around the people who at
one time criticized her, although she did forgive them. As
far as sexual relationships, Mary has never been sexually
active. She has never even had her first kiss, or even
been on her first date. In high school this didn't bother
Mary because she didn't care too much about going on dates
or having boyfriends. Mary's culture is much different
from ours in America. In India, women aren't allowed to
have boyfriends and aren't even allowed to hang out with
guys. The parents choose their daughters' boyfriends and
who they will marry. You must also marry someone who has
the same last name as you. Mary says that when she moved
to the Untied States it was much different. She does have
more independence and can actually bring a guy home for her
parents to meet and then they decide if he is okay to
marry. In America she can actually talk to a guy and have
a conversation with him, but rules are still the same as in
India. The parents must decide whom their daughters will marry.
When entering college, during later adolescence, Mary
feels that her maturity level is lot higher than those of
most other girls, simple because of her culture, and the
things she hasn't done. She does admit that when entering
college, things that use to not matter to her, do now. She
says that she sometimes regrets not ever being more
involved in high school. It bothers Mary to know that she
has never even had a boyfriend, or even had her first
dance. At this point in her life, she does want a
boyfriend. She says that her cousins have boyfriends, but
their parents don't know about it. In India, if anyone
finds out that you lied to your parents, it is an embarrassment for the parents rather than the children, and some parents are looked down upon by others and criticized. Eventually some parents end up committing suicide, Mary says. Her lifestyle now in college consists of going to school and working a part time job. Mary's future goals include graduating from college, getting a good job, and one day having a family.
Many crisis have occurred in Mary's life, such as her father moving to the United States at a young age, becoming accustomed to America's culture, and having to develop new friendships, which have had a major impact on her life. Mary's lifestyle changed at the age of twelve when entering early adolescence, having to move to another country and become adjusted to a new lifestyle. Mary not only had to get adjusted to a new culture, but she didn't get to do all the other things that kids her age did; like going out with friends, going out on dates, and having her first boyfriend. When asking what are some factors in your life that has been major influences, Mary expresses that the number one influence has been church. She stated, "I finally started believing in God. In India I didn't believe that there is a heaven and a hell. I have realized that good things have had influences on me. God helps me remember who I am, and reminds me that I don't have to change who I am just to !
fit into a group." When giving advice to another person, Mary states, "always be honest and get a chance to know someone before you judge him or her. Although you may not want to, go to church and give God a chance because He is why you are here. At this age, I don't see how I get through anything without God. I know we can't see God, but if we truly believe then you'll realize what a great God he is."
I asked Mary about how she felt about racism in the new Millennium, and she responded by saying, " I have experienced a lot of racism, so I know all too well what it is about. When I moved here, people didn't feel sorry for me, they just tortured me. Instead they should have been trying to teach me things I didn't know, and I feel that is why I never made too many friends, because I don't trust a lot of people." When asking how she feels about how racism has changed over the years, she replies," I feel that racism has definitely improved, especially throughout music and TV. In college racism doesn't seem as bad, but I see a lot of racism existing more in people over the age of 25."
I feel this individual's growth and development has enriched not only her life but also the lives of her family members. She seems to be very intellectual, has a lot of confidence, but I feel that it took all the experiences that she has been through to make her a better person.
Throughout my life I have learned and become accustomed to one certain way of thinking and acting, due in part to where I have grown up. However, through conducting this interview, I have acquired the knowledge that the customs and activities that I am used to are not centrally located in one area, but they are universal.
Everyone's childhood is universal whether you live in Maine or Florida. As a child, you are still going to play in sandboxes, get beat up by the bully on the playground, or fall off a swing set. Past or present, young or old, we will all learn experiences from not only ourselves, but others as well. Not matter what creed, nationality, or sex we are, we are all the same, and the way we take and use the things we know and apply them to our lives makes us who we are. It also allows us to be successful if we only choose.