My family’s identity in America has been shaped by my family’s ethnic origins and hardships in their communities. This has been formed from experiences that have happened before and after arriving in America.
In an interview with my grandma, she discussed the hardships that her family faced when moving to America following a war. She described this when “After my great grandfather fought in the First World War for Germany he came back to a ruined economy and was now out of work. Having little choice, he was forced to move his family to America to look for new economic opportunities.” This illustrates that hardships form our identity because they are often the reason, we come here in the first place. Struggles in our community also impact our as highlighted by my grandma when she state's “in the Detroit Area my family had to change their name and every night would spend an hour or so according to my grandmother practicing English without a German accent in order to better fit in and avoid any scorn. This did eventually erase any and all memory of the German language from my family”. This exemplifies how communities are often what form our American creed by creating struggles that directly impact our American creed by replacing our origin culture.
In another interview I conducted with my aunt I found that another branch of my is descended from the Mayflower. According to my aunt “Assuming our family tree is correct we are descended from Degory priest and possibly other Mayflower passengers. The rest they came was to escape religious persecution and to seek a better life”. This differs largely from my previous interview in both time period and exact reasoning for coming to America, although they both highlight how struggles from our ancestors have come to shape our identity in America. This led me to understand how a common basis for forming our identity can be similarly formed through hardships and struggles that we have faced. Most people know others from different cultural backgrounds that have faced hardships in America that form their identity in this country.
In an interview with my great aunt, she discussed how my great grandmother came from Italy a family that had many problems with life after her immigration to the US. According to my aunt finding a job was very difficult for her father. She told me that this led to her older brother working in a factory that eventually led to a decline in his health due to a respiratory illness from a harsh work environment. This caused their family to move to the Detroit area and her other brother and father went into the auto industry at Ford. These economic struggles that her family faced have formed my family’s identify. This interview also highlights how struggles such as health can impact our identity by forcing their family to move across the country.
In conclusion, I believe that our identity in America is fundamentally compromised by our greatest hardships that we and our ancestors have faced. This makes everyone’s identity in this country unique to them.