Ethnic Background Essay

673 WordsNov 6, 20073 Pages
I was born into a mixed family much like Tiger's. My mother's father was Chinese-American, orphaned by his birth-family and raised in the South. My mother's mother was African-American and, following the family legacy, she received a degree from Fisk University in Nashville, TN. My relatives were instrumental in the foundation of the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, SC, an educational institute for African-Americans founded in 1865 (now associated with the College of Charleston). My mother grew up in a segregated society where choices were rarely available. She received her Master's degree in Library Science from HBC University. My father's family is of German/Scottish/Irish/Danish decent. When faced with racial classification forms,…show more content…
Ironically, since acquiring my husband's last name, people assume and accept without hesitation that I'm Irish. I have curly hair like a "good Irish girl" or often hear, "Susannah O'Connor sounds like a "good Irish name." Judging by my married name alone, I have been shuffled into the Irish-American-Caucasian check-box. I was raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Silver Spring was a diverse community, our neighbors were Yugoslavian, Korean, Italian, and included many others. There were many ethnic-specific markets and restaurants near our house where we tried many different foods. Our community pool was located in a conservative orthodox Jewish section of Silver Spring. Outside of swim season, our family was included in many Passover seders, sukkoh parties and Bar/Bat Mitzvah's through relationships developed on our swim team. I felt comfortable in our culturally dynamic neighborhood and felt fewer pressures to be classified into a specific ethnic category. When I was in middle school my father inherited his parent's house and our family made an uncomfortable transition to Chevy Chase, Md. In contrast to the Silver Spring community, Chevy Chase is a White, upper-class, wealthy suburb of Washington, DC. Many of our neighbors belonged to one of the three local country clubs that, until just a few years ago, did not admit minorities. Other than neighborly requests for babysitting duties, our
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