My Culture, My Color, My Self: Heritage, Resilience, and Community in the Lives of Young Adults

Toby S Jenkins, Author
Toby S. Jenkins. Temple Univ., $24.95 (204p) ISBN 978-1-4399-0830-3
Reviewed on: 04/01/2013
Release date: 02/01/2013
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-10430-3
Hardcover - 204 pages - 978-1-4399-0829-7
Ebook - 204 pages - 978-1-4399-0831-0
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Have minority youth disengaged themselves from their family and culture identities? Not at all, finds Jenkins, assistant professor of Higher Education and Integrative Studies at George Mason University. In his exploration of how minority college students define and exhibit cultural awareness, Jenkins examines how young adults discover their cultures through education, art, spirituality, and personal survival strategies. However, the most powerful markers of culture described here are family-based. Those influences vary widely among families who are supportive of youthful aspirations and help them combat negative influences in the wider society; a phenomenon matched by corresponding desires by young people not to disappoint their elders. Jenkins also includes stories of youths who persevere and succeed despite corrupting influences of apathetic or destructive familial and communal ties. Their stories and creative writing are powerful and captivating, but Jenkins often personalizes her thesis, offering commentary—and in some cases her own poetry—that weakens her arguments' coherence. This trait gives the entire work the patina of a self-help guide rather than an articulate analysis of why these students' cultural backgrounds should be acknowledged by institutions of higher education in order for them to excel. (Feb.)
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