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What is a typical American? What is generally viewed as a typical American is that your family has lived here for years and years and you don't personally know who immigrated here. Along with this, your family has molded into this typical view with no "foreign" traditions and things. A lot of people in my class can talk about their relatives that speak another language or have immigrated here. I don't have anything like that so I'll tell you about mine.
According to Blauner:
Members of an ethnic group hold a set of common memories that make them feel that their customs, culture, and outlook are distinctive.
My family doesn't pass down stories or anything. No real passed on customs, no immigrant stories. Takaki thinks everyone should be educated in all culture that makes America so diverse. I don't really have a culture. My family more or less assimilated to the traditional mainstream American. AS far as I know, I am Irish, German, and Native American. Where or when each came together, I don't know.
Randall Bass says:
Individuals derive their sense of identitiy from their culture, and cultures are systems of beliefs that determine how people live their lives.
Well I have my own story. I'll start by talking about my mother's side of my family. As far as I know both my grandparents grew up and lived in Detroit. They raised my mom and Uncle there too. My grandma stayed at home while my grandpa fixed airplanes. It's kind of cool because he was in WWII also to fix the fighter planes. They were fairly well off and had a boat on the river. They're background is Irish and German. Although they never personally told me there was German,I'm taking an educated guess because the last name (Volkening) looks really German.
My dad's side is German and Native American. I've been told I have relatives in Germany with the same last name although I've never met them or know their names. My grandma also stayed at home and my grandma worked in a factory. They too lived in Detroit and raised my dad and my two Uncles in a two-bedroom house. My dad slept in the laundry room next to the water heater because there wasn't enough room in the other two rooms.
My parents both met in Detroit and lived there for about twenty years. Both my parents worked through college to help pay for each other's tuition.
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Like Lance Arthur talked about his childhood, I'll tell you about mine. I live in a subdivision in Highland. We like to call it "no man's land" because no one ever knows where the place is. There's like one main area of stores around the busiest road (M-59) other wise its trailer park, subdivision, or farmland. There weren't many kids my age in my neighborhood so I hung out with the boys older than me and with my dad. I became a big tomboy, fishing, catching frogs, and swimming in our lake and playing basketball and riding my bike in front of my house. I went to a private Christian school and impressed the boys with my awesome football arm. When I got older I joined a softball league and played catcher. When I switched to public school I had no friends up until high school so I mainly concentrated on schoolwork and TV. I loved those Saturday morning cartoons. I high school I joined an academic team that builds robots and competes across the nation in a game. Everyone in the team becomes really close and I made lots of friends. During this time I learned some computer animation that greatly improved my computer skills. That is basically my childhood in a nutshell. I can't really say I grew up going to church listening to mass in a different language but I'm pretty sure that no one will have the same experiences that I have had.
I was pretty much shaped by all of this. I was expected to be a model Christian child who never got in trouble, yeah right. I think during that period where I had no friends I learned to become more independent. I'm still a total tomboy though, hehe. My experience with the team made me become more of a team player and my friends helped me to open up a little more and show my wacky and weird side. I am a total computer freak now though. You just can't keep me off one. It's just cool how you can talk to someone halfway around the globe and someone down the street at the same time.
Yeah so that's my family and me. Nothing big or anything just a typical assimilated family. No weird traditions, no great stories just boring stuff and all. I think we are the perfect example of a family perfectly molded into this view of an American family.
Arthur, Lance. "My Stupid Childhood" The Fray. 28 pars. 15 September 2000 http://www.fray.com/hope/childhood
Bass, Randall. "The Shaping Power Of Stories" BorderTexts: Cultural Readings for Contemporary Writers. Ed. Randall Bass. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1999. 21-22
Blauner, Bob. "Talking Past Each Other: Black and White Languages of Race" BorderTexts: Cultural Readings for Contemporary Writers. Ed. Randall Bass. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1999.400-410
Takaki, Ronald. "A Different Mirror" BorderTexts: Cultural Readings for Contemporary Writers. Ed. Randall Bass. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1999. 589-596.