Research Paper Essay

Simrat Nijjer


FCWR 151 F01


Culture and Identity

Culture and Identity definition is that Culture is what’s your background is from and Identity is form where you belong to. Like where you from and what groups that identify you like ethnicity, religion, or caste system. A person can identify their identity by developing from their birth and can be teach them by values and views preventing at home and around the surrounding communities. Leopold Sedar Senghor and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim both talks about how culture and identity can impact and effect on society in history and today.

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How immigrant people can be treated differently because of their culture and identity. Leopold Sedar Senghor opens saying that how he came to New York. First, he was surprised with New York beauty at first sight. Then he gives the description of the view that he was seeing. “New York! At first I was bewildered by your beauty, those huge, long-legged, golden girls.

So shy, at first, before your blue metallic eyes and icy smile, so shy. And full of despair at the end of skyscraper streets Raising my owl eyes at the eclipse of the sun.” (Leopold). This quote is trying to tell you that how Leopold sees the New York at first sight. How he describes the setting and the view. In another quote he says “Listen, New York! O listen to your bass male voice, Your vibrant oboe voice, the muted anguish of your tears Falling in great clots of blood,

Listen to the distant beating of your nocturnal heart, The tom-tom’s rhythm and blood, tom-tom blood and tom-tom.” (Leopold). He tries to say that people must stay in touch with their culture, roots, and past. Also, people should remember where they came from. He also try to say that remember the poverty that brought people together. In “Learning to Love America” by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim she opens saying that “because it has no pure products.” (Shirley). This quote trying to say that how America has so many different ethnicity & cultures. She trying to say how there are immigrant people exactly like her with so many others culture. “Because I say we rather than they” (Shirley) she trying to say that how she managed to settle herself in foreign country. She is now part of American society. She also later on trying to struggle between her double identities. “Because I live in California I have eaten fresh artichokes and jacaranda bloom in April and May” (Shirley) she trying to say is that how she accept the American way of life and happiness. “Because I walk barefoot in my house” (Shirley) she remembering her culture and roots. In Asian tradition it trying to reveal how the speaker is incapable to truly reject her Asian culture and roots. “Because it is late and too late to change my mind because it is time.” (Shirley). She trying to say that it’s too late to go back to her country where her culture and roots are. These both poems are trying to accept new country and how they are so far from their culture and roots. My culture and identity also plays a big important in American society. I am going to explain how my culture and identity impacts/faced in America.

Background/ History of Sikh- Sikh is known as Sikhism. It is culture and religion that was found in Punjab (India). “The Sikh religion was founded in Northern India in the fifteenth century by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and is distinct from Islam and Hinduism. Sikhism is monotheistic and stresses the equality of all men and women. Sikhs believe in three basic principles; meditating on the name of God (praying), earning a living by honest means as well as sharing the fruits of one’s labor with others. Sikhism rejects caste and class systems and emphasizes service to humanity. Turbans are worn to cover our long hair and with respect to God. Sikhs have unshorn hair, beards and moustaches. The Sikh faith teaches us the humanitarian principles of freedom, equality, and justice – the same principles this great democracy is founded on. There are about 25 million Sikhs in the world. Sikhs have been in the United States for over 100 years. Sikhism recognizes the universal truths that underlie all human endeavors, religions and belief systems. The universal nature of the Sikh way of life reaches out to people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds, encouraging us to see beyond our differences and to work together for world peace and harmony. The almost 25 million Sikhs worldwide constitute the fifth largest religion in the world. Despite almost a million Sikhs living in North America (USA and Canada), Sikhs are often confused as Arabs or Muslims. Sikhs arrived in North America in 1897 and played a pivotal role in the opening of the West and construction of the Panama Canal in 1904. In 1906, Sikhs established their first gurdwara, or place of worship, in the United States. 700,000 Americans and Canadians are Sikh and nearly every major city has a Sikh place of worship and community center.” ( “The aftermath of the attack of September 11th serve as unique opportunity to measure this connection because at the time Sikhs became the victims of hate crimes due to mistaken identity. The hate crimes that occurred in the United States after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, resulted in a new perspective of the roles of Sikhs as Americans. Due to the lack of understanding of Sikhism on the part of mainstream Americans, Sikh Americans fell victim to mistaken identity and hate crimes. Although the Sikh American community has maintained a strong religious identity, they continue to live insular lives. Sikhs have been in the United States for over 100 years, and yet there continues to be a lack of cultural awareness of the community. Although they do maintain strong ties to their culture and religion, Sikhs live insular lives. These insular lives, which fail to educate the American society, have resulted in a backlash against Sikh Americans. This lack of cultural awareness had manifested itself in mistaken identity that caused the hate crimes committed against Sikh Americans this year.” ( So you can see how Sikhs culture and identity impacted in the American society. How someone comes to America from another country and they ask the people about their culture & identity. Work Cited

Sedar Senghor, “To New York.” Literature: The Human Experience, Shorter Edition 12th Edition Richard Abcarian

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, “Learning To Love America.” Literature: The Human Experience, Shorter Edition 12th Edition Richard Abcarian

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