• Vera Okolo

    I can almost completely relate, except I’m of Nigerian descent. My parents moved to America before they had me. I was raised in a sheltered manner so I always felt like I was observing American culture when I was younger rather than being born into it. Then I went to a public high school and felt something like culture shock because it was the first time in my life that I was immersed in American culture. Not so surprisingly I had an identity crisis, trying to figure out where I fit in since I didn’t fit into American culture all that well.
    My parents didn’t do a good job of passing on Nigerian culture to me, which I didn’t care about so much when I was younger but started pestering them about constantly in high school. For instance, I still try to practice Igbo (one of the languages) with my Dad because he is far more interested in helping than my mom is, and yet, he’s too busy to really sit down and practice with me. For some reason, my parents only speak English to me and my siblings but Igbo with all their friends and family.
    I tried adopting the “uniqueness” mindset, so these things don’t always bother me too much now. But this past week, two separate times on the same day, I introduced myself to two different people as an American-born Nigerian and was told “Oh, so then you’re not really Nigerian.” I get that so much from people and it stings to be rejected from a culture that I was raised in. Guess I don’t really fit in anywhere.