Nevertheless, this Portuguese history was not particularly emphasized in my childhood, and so I do not speak some of the Portuguese language that was commonly spoken in my childhood home. Part of my family’s cultural history is the Catholic religion, which has been passed from generation to generation. We celebrate Catholic holidays, attend Catholic services, and partake in all the traditions inherent to the Catholic faith. We enjoy and take pride in participating in the Catholic aspect of our family’s cultural history, since it gives us a sense of connection with our ancestors who lived on the continent of Europe and who valued the strength they received through Jesus Christ. In terms of class, my family belongs to the middle class; however, I would consider my family as belonging to the upper portion of the middle class, with a few more amenities than most other families in my town and across the country.
Together, these factors comprise my personal sense of cultural identity. Of these factors, I believe that class and ethnicity are most important, particularly because they have the most direct relationship to economic and interpersonal success in American society. Class has the strongest potential for separating people. For instance, people from different races, whether black or white, will always be friends if they share a certain number of interests. But the interests that people have are largely the result of the money and resources they have at their disposal. A rich black man and a poor white man will not have anything to talk about because their life’s focus (and direction) is simply too different to create a worthwhile relationship for them both. Additionally, ethnicity is important because it directly affects our actions. For instance, my ethnicities as Portuguese and as a Catholic are the primary reasons that I regularly attend Catholic services with my family. Yet another important factor to my cultural identity is the relationship between my parents (mother and father). Because my parents had a good relationship, there was a good relationship between my parents and myself as a child (Malinen, Kinnunen, Tolvanen, Ronka, Wierda-Boer, & Gerris, 2010). This means that my parents do a better job of transferring the cultural history of the family; because we are a tight-knit family, I have a better perception and a higher reverence for my familial history. My family invariably defines success as financial stability, family support, respect for self and others, and happiness. Firstly, financial stability is important because, as I pointed out earlier, class is the strongest determiner of our relationships with others. If we cannot first support ourselves, then we cannot offer value to others who can. Our first priority must be to become financially independent from others. Research seems to agree with this point (Shim, Xiao, Barber, & Lyons, 2009). Secondly, family support is important because our families, for most people, give our life meaning. The fullest impact that people can make as human beings are in their role as parent. Through our children, we will live on for generations through the things we communicate, instill, and impress into their minds. Thirdly, respect for self is crucial for having the self-esteem to make one’s life successful. If one does not respect himself, he cannot hope to acquire the means for either success in his financial situation or in his relationships with others. Similarly, one needs respect for others to maintain those relationships he needs to forge to find financial and