Conflicting Identities

There are a few examples from my own life experience in which I have felt like an insider or outsider and have struggled with my different identities. For one, I am from Atlanta, GA. Although I go to school in the south, there are so many students at Emory from the north, and it almost felt as if I was the one in culture shock when I arrived here my freshman year. However, although having grown up in the south, I don’t necessarily associate myself 100% with southern culture. My parents are both from Ecuador and came to the United States after they got married in 1985. Therefore, I grew up in a very Spanish household. What I know of or have acquired from southern culture comes predominantly from school or my friends. I didn’t grow up with my dad watching SEC football on television but rather the FIFA World Cup. I didn’t grow up eating traditional southern food but rather traditional South American dishes. And ever since I was born, Spanish has been the primary language in our household. Therefore, there are so many times in my life when these identities clash with each other, and I can fall into a strange gray area between insider and outsider. I visit Ecuador often, as a large part of my extended family still lives there. Although I speak their language, know the country, and know its people’s customs, I am still very much American in contrast and feel very American when I’m there. It can often times be an uncomfortable feeling. Back in Atlanta, or the U.S. for that matter, I know I can identify myself as someone who has grown up in the south, but at the same time I know I didn’t grow up in a southern household. There are many things that I cannot relate to with my friends from home who were, in fact, raised with Southern parents. It’s interesting how all the identities we associate ourselves with can sometimes act against each other, making us insiders, outsiders, or maybe just something in between. I wonder if I were to conduct research on people in Ecuador or the southern United States, would I possess an insider or outsider status?

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