An authentic picture of culture among young adults of color
My Culture, My Color, My Self
Heritage, Resilience, and Community in the Lives of Young Adults
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Toby S. Jenkins
Understanding our cultural heritage and sharing a cultural community's history helps motivate individuals to take agency and create change within their communities. But are today's youth appreciative of their culture, or apathetic towards it?
In her vibrant ethnography My Culture, My Color, My Self, Toby Jenkins provides engrossing, in-depth interviews and poignant snapshots of young adults talking about their lives and culture. She recounts D'Leon's dream to become a positive example for African American men, and Francheska describing how her late mother inspired her appreciation of her Boricua heritage. In these and other portraits, Jenkins considers the role that cultural education and engagement plays in enhancing educational systems, neighborhood programs, and community structures.
My Culture, My Color, My Self also features critical essays that focus on broader themes such as family bonds, education, and religion. Taken together, Jenkins shows how people of color use their culture as both a politic of social survival and a tool for social change.
"Toby Jenkins is a great American scholar and writer. By not only addressing the many challenges confronting our nation but also focusing on dialogue and solutions, she represents the new wave of thinkers. This is what makes My Culture, My Color, My Self such a valuable contribution to the ongoing national conversation about race, culture, and identity. Jenkins shows us not only how to take those necessary and sometimes uncomfortable looks in the mirror but also how we—as Americans, as human beings, as sisters and brothers—can become bridge builders for ourselves, for our children, for our America."
"The cultural self-portraits in this study create a foundation for a depth of understanding too often absent from traditional scholarship. Jenkins’s use of narrative, storytelling, poetry, and complex analysis drawing on critical race theory and transnational feminism reflects great wisdom and cultural leadership. These stories will, as they did for me, lead all readers to explore their own cultural ‘homes.’"
Toby S. Jenkins is Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Integrative Studies at George Mason University.