LEARN Center
placeholder header

Exploring Ethnicity Paper

The purpose of this assignment is for you to examine your own ethnic/racial background. This can lead to a greater awareness of how your own individual development and experience has been affected by your ethnic and/or racial identity within your family, community, and the larger society.

In a paper of about eight pages (use your judgment as to length and format for telling your story), discuss the following issues related to your ethnicity:

  1. Description of your own ethnic background (it may be a mixture, such as Norwegian and Swedish, German and English; decide if you want to include more than one or just focus on one ethnic background).
  2. History of "your people" coming to the USA ; where they came from;
    when and why they came-were they immigrants or refugees, motivated by dreams of a better life or running from oppression or poverty; the journey to this country, including any circumstances you consider significant. You may focus on your family's particular circumstances or the more general circumstances of others of this ethnic group from your family's country of origin.
  3. Reception of your people by other Americans-- to what degree were there immigration policies, restrictive or exclusionary policies which affected the opportunities of the newcomers? To what degree did they encounter discrimination or encouragement in their new communities?
  4. For this ethnic group, was there a time in which their ethnicity became less important? Explain
  5. Aspects of that ethnic background that are salient or important to your family and you; what features, such as the humor, the food, family relations, patterns of communication and childrearing, etc. contribute to your way of thinking and being and those of others of your ethnic background?
  6. What strengths do you have that can be traced to your ethnic background? (In some cases, these may be best observed through family values)