, Research Paper
When looking back on the books that I have read there is one thing that I noticed common in all the books. It seems to me that a bad comes from coming from a family without a father figure. There is much negativity that comes from living a life with no father figure. The first book that we read was Lakota Women. Mary Crow Dog was born and raised without a father figure in her life. The next book that we read was Black Boy. Richard Wright faces the disappearance of his father at a very early age. Then we read Latin Deli where Judith Cofer walks in on her father having an affair with another woman. Then we read Rice Room where Ben Fong Torres really lost his cultural identity because the father couldn?t bring him back after being Americanized. The father did try though; it was just that it was too late. At that point it was up to Ben Fong Torres when he was going to learn more about his culture.
In the following pages I am going to talk about the significance of a father in a multicultural world. I am going to discuss the father?s roles and how they are missed when they aren?t there. I am also going to interview my father being that he moved from Poland to the Untied States and ask him how is was to raise a family in a country that doesn?t practice your heritage.
In doing research I found a very interesting statement in an article form the President of National Congress for Fathers and their Children. The statement reads, ?The absence of biological fathers is the leading cause of many of our nation?s problems, including crime, drug problems, teen violence, inner city strife, and juvenile delinquency. Families with an absent-father have a much higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse, metal illness, and poor education.? (Users erols.com) We see that this can hold its truth in some cases in the books that we read. For instance in Lakota Woman, a perfectly good girl with good intentions starts to abuse the uses of alcohol and drugs. She refers to times that she was on the drug peyote and how she was an alcoholic by the age of ten. It is said that they use substances in order to forget about the problems they face everyday of their lives. In the book Black Boy Richard is rebellious toward everyone and everything he doesn?t trust anyone. He thinks that is uncle is trying to kill them when he brings his wagon in the water, when he told him what he was going do prior to doing it. In the book Latin Deli the father figure is present and really doesn?t play that big of a problem. The father is loving toward the daughter and very protective of her. For example, when the man who sells the blankest for the beds comes into the house and he tries to but the daughter so that his son can come to America legally, the father rejects. The mans insists that the money would be well worth it, and even though the family isn?t really well off he still reject anything that the man has to offer. The father does lie to his daughter when he is having an affair but besides that he is a good father. I think that it is very important to have a strong father figure in your life. Especially when you are dealing with families that move out of their culture. If there is no father figure than the culture will be lost more times than none.
I interviewed my father on moving from his homeland of Poland to America.
INTERVIEW (with my father)
Question: What are the main differences between America?s lifestyle and the lifestyle in Poland?
Answer: ?There are many differences between the two countries, but if I had to name the big ones I would say that the standard way of life is totally different. It also more family oriented in Poland. One of the big things is that there really is no middle class. You are either rich or poor. There are many more pleasures in America than Poland. You are lucky if you own a car in Poland. Only the rich have cars.?
Question: Was it difficult raising a Polish family out of the country?
Answer: ?Oh yeah, it was the hardest part. You can answer that question yourself Steve, by asking yourself if you can even speak the language! I bet by the time you have kids nobody in the family will be able to speak Polish, then its like you should just say you are American.
Question: would you say that you lost your ethnic back round when you came to America?
Answer: ?Now that I think about it I would have to say yes, I have lost some of the Polish in me. I used to eat, sleep, and dream in polish but now everything is English. Like I said, my own children can?t even speak the language.?
Question: If you can go back to Poland with your family would you?
Answer: ? No, it is safer here. I am used to living here now, it has been 43 years since I lived in Poland, I am not about to go back there.?
Question: How hard do you think it would be for a child to grow up in another country such as myself without a father?
Answer: ?Not only would that be hard for the kid being brought up without a father figure, but the child would probably never even know his identity or what things were like on his fathers cultural side. If his father was from a different country then his mother and the father left, wow, that would be difficult for the child. He would definitely become Americanized.
When I was a child I thought of myself equal to every other child. I didn?t even know that my parents were first generation to America. It was very hard for me growing up to learn anything about my culture. My father worked all the time, and for all of my life my father was an alcoholic. So when he wasn?t working he was drunk. So I really didn?t want to talk to him at all. I didn?t now anything about Poland, I had never been there and I didn?t even know how to speak it. I considered myself American. It wasn?t until about 7 months ago that I started to learn more and more about my culture. My father quit drinking about 7 months ago. When he quit he started to tell me stories that I would have loved to know a lot earlier in life. I learned more about my father and our culture then I had the previous 18 years. My father told me stories about him when he was young and lived in Poland. He told me about when he had to work on the farm and how there was no streets and how hard life was over there. He even began to teach me the language. I firmly believe that without a father figure in the life of a multicultural human it is nearly impossible to learn about your identity. This needs to be taught to you. I think that no one gets it across better than my father. There is nothing harder then moving out of your culture into a dominant different race. Without the help of family this will lead to bad things. It is said in statistics, that a person coming from a fatherless family is 32 times more to run away. It is also said that 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. This is an outstanding statistic. There are many cases where multicultural homes go for the good only. The handout that we received on the melting pot stated, ? The American culture remains a powerful force ? for better for worse ? that influences people both here and around the world in countless ways. But several factors have combined in recent years to allow immigrants to resist, if they choose, the Americanization that had once been considered irresistible. I believe that the families that stay together have a greater chance of remaining culturally stable. It is the families that lack the father figure that get into trouble because the child becomes Americanized and the parent had no control over the rebellious child that tends to become only a statistic.