Autobiographical Essay: Who Am I?
A typed, 6-10 page paper (no longer than 10 pages, 12 pt. font, 1 inch margin, excluding title and reference pages), based on the following points:
Proof read carefully. Your grade will be significantly lowered if your paper has numerous spelling/grammatical errors.
In as much detail as possible, discuss your background, in terms of the following dimensions of diversity. Discuss all 7 points below and number each one.
1. Environment: the kind(s) of community(ies) in which you grew up and currently live (i.e. large city, suburb, small town, rural area; neighborhood)
2. Social Class Background: your social class as you grew up. Explain. Describe the kinds of jobs held and level of education of those who raised you. What were the social class levels of your neighbors? Did you and your family experience upward and/or downward social mobility? Explain. And finally, how have your experiences in the U.S. influenced your ideas about the “American dream?”
3. Social Heritage: your racial, ethnic, and religious background (not everyone will identify with all three). How important were these aspects of your identity to you as you grew up? How have they shaped your values and goals? Explain.
4. Social and Economic Opportunities: advantages and disadvantages you have experienced in society due to your wealth, gender, and cultural background. How have these advantages and disadvantages affected you at school, at work, and/or in the larger community?
5. Cultural Encapsulation: ways in which your upbringing has limited your exposure to other people from other cultures and races. Also, how has your cultural encapsulation shaped your cultural lens?
6. Diversity Consciousness: ways in which your family background, life experiences, and education have influenced your diversity consciousness. What do you think will be your most difficult challenge as you work on developing your own diversity consciousness?
7. Sphere of Influence: what is your “sphere of influence?” In other words, whom do you “touch” or influence at the present, and whom will you influence in the future? Be as specific as possible.
You will be graded on a number of criteria (clarity, development, each question answered thoroughly, creativity, understanding of the concepts).
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