How Does Your Family and Community History Connect to Your American Creed?

Posted by Shireen Kaakarli Michigan
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This is how my family and community history connect to my American Creed:

I am a Syrian-American Muslim women. Thanks to my parents, I carry that around with me, always. It is a privilege to know who I am and where I came from and, I feel as though, because we live in a huge melting pot full of different cultures and religions we can lose ourselves.

My parents took that into consideration before moving here to give their kids a better future. They also researched where most of the Syrians moved to when they came over because they wanted me to be constantly around Syria and heavily influenced by it. They put me in a private Muslim school where I learned Arabic and my holy books scribes. It altered my perspective on the world before I even had one.

When I came into (public) high school, everything changed. I started to learn a lot more about the basic American culture and how my friends contribute to it. This all ties in with my American Creed because I have been put through the eyes of Arab immigrants and native-born Americans. When I came into Avondale, I started to curse a lot more to fit in. I didn’t fix my Hijab when my hair showed, and hung out with groups (including boys) when I knew that my parents did not want me to be around them outside of school instead of going to my mosque. I would go home and fix my hijab, tell my parents that I was only with a group of girls, and would not come close to swearing. I lost myself trying to adjust to what I thought was basic American culture. Sadly, it took me an encounter with some racist classmates to realize how pointless it was to change myself and go against most things my parents taught me to fit in. I am grateful, however, that I went through that as early as Freshman year because now, I run Diversity and Avondale’s Muslim Student Association, and am a part of amnesty international whilst working at my mosque part-time. I found a way to identify as an Arab living in America with Islamic values without feeling embarrassed about it.

They have their similarities, Islam and America, such as school (and the amount of hard work you put into it), but they also have their differences. People stare at you if you dress differently. Of course the hijab marks me instantly. This formed my American Creed.

We have a whole culture moving from East to West to have a successful future. On the other hand, we have this basic group of people that live in this world without a true base of culture and/or religion.

Being the intermediary between the American culture and an international culture can put a lot of pressure on people. Incorporating the customs your family enriched you with is a challenge-especially when those customs are not the norm can be a challenge. But I learned that it is all about balance and how to appreciate both cultures despite their differences.

Published on Jun 26, 2018
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