University of Phoenix
Race defines me as Mexican, German, and Irish. My religion defines me as Catholic. My country of birth defines me as American. However, I believe these terms describing me, merely list historical facts and statistics. The fact remains; I belong to these various groups by birth, not choice. I believe I am fortunate that my family instilled the understanding of diversity as far back as I can remember. Each of the people who raised me contributed to my value set in different ways. In addition, and most important, my personal experiences helped me to discover and appreciate diversity. I hail from Santa Ana, California where Hispanics make up 76.1% of the city’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2009). In addition, my Mexican American grandparents primarily raised me. The neighborhood I where I lived consisted of fellow Hispanics and distant relatives. The Hispanic influence shaped my strong family values and racial identification. My grandparents truly believe that regardless of circumstance, family is first and above all else. The fact they raised me and still enjoy my company today is a testament to this teaching. Growing up with my grandparents meant, in addition to lifelong allegiance to family, a strong religious set of values. I was sent to Catholic school along with my cousins, taken to mass every Sunday, and prayed the rosary in hopes of keeping me safe from sin. I do appreciate the cost relating to my education; however, I am afraid it only served to strengthen my current beliefs. Specifically, that religious intolerance is unacceptable. Religious beliefs are individual. No religion is correct or incorrect. My grandparents grew up and survived an era of intolerance and prejudice. In spite of their experiences, they instilled in me values of tolerance and acceptance. My father, former “hippy,” is also responsible for my belief that, a person’s place of birth or color...