Between Cultural Lines

Between Cultural Lines

Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California
Student Magazine

Chelsey Barmore, Staff Writer

For some, finding their identities as biracial or multiracial individuals can bring forth challenges. Someone born with blended ethnicities may experience the frequent question of, “What are you?” Mistaken for one race and not recognized for the other may at times create an identity crisis. There’s a pull to identify with one group or another, and sometimes, between multiple ethnicities simultaneously.
This is the case for Stephen Gephart, who is German, English, and Hispanic. Gephart, a sophomore applied health major says he’s proud of his Hispanic heritage. He grew up in a Catholic household and was raised by a Spanish-speaking mother. Cooking tamales for Christmas with his family became a memorable time for him. Even though his Hispanic heritage was dominant in his home, Gephart still accepted his English and German nationalities…

Benjamin Bailey, contributor of the book “Multiracial Americans and Social Class” and an associate professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, explained that several factors could influence the acceptance of personal ethnic identity: physical features, social interactions, and communities.
“I think now there are a lot of people in the United States who, with large-scale immigration, don’t fit the traditional categories so there’s more flexibility now,” said Bailey. “At one point, someone could say, ‘I don’t care who you are; you’re black to me.’”
Bailey explained that in the past a “one drop rule” was enforced. This rule claimed that any individual with “one drop” of African ancestry was to be considered fully African-American. Today, individuals cannot be fully defined by one ethnicity over another. Even the way a person acts can affect the way one is identified, according to Bailey…

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