5 September 2014
In Barbara Ehrenreich’s Cultural baggage, the topic of ethnic heritage is discussed as the author is responding to an acquaintance asking her what her ethnic background is. Ehrenreich finds her purpose for writing her essay in making readers aware that no ethnic background is in fact a background. She takes on a not so common viewpoint of herself as most people pride themselves in where they came from and the traditions of their culture, rather than feeling almost embarrassed to claim their background.
Ehrenreich claims that she has no ethnic background, disregarding her Scottish, English, and Irish heritage. While others “stand up and proudly reclaim their roots”, Ehrenreich questions if she is “revealing a hidden ethnic chauvinism in which the Britanically derived serve as a kind of neutral standard compared with the ethnic “others”’. She realizes that it is almost “un-American” to not be linked in title to an ancestor of a particular ethnicity, yet she hardly has any sense of pride in her personal background or even a connection to any other background due to being raised with a of lack cultural traditions and beliefs. There was a short period of time where Ehrenreich “briefly nourished a craving for traditions and roots”, as most people do at some point, by learning about where her family descended from and the practices that her ancestors took part in. She even hoped that with her marriage to an Eastern European Jewish man, she would gain the “ethnic genes” that she felt she lacked. She attempted to instill a greater sense of ethnic pride in her children than what she had growing up, but their sense of connection with their own ethnicity “eluded” them as well. Ehrenreich portrays a high sense of disconnect from her roots, so much so that the reader feels sympathetic that she is not being able to achieve the cultural pride that many do.
After attempting to instill...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document