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Natalie Amos
Professor Melissa Sipin
English 211
Natalie Amos: An Ethnoautobiography
Throughout a persons life, there are many factors which make up the persons culture
that come together and mold that person into an individual. Ones socio-economic status, race,
gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and religion all affect ones view of the world and actions within it. I
am a white, middle-class female from the southern region of the United States. These factors in
my life have affected the evolution of my beliefs and values from the moment I could begin to
understand the world and people around me.
Being born white in the United States has many connotations in relation to this nations
history with and struggle for race equality. These connotations are even more likely to affect
ones life when you are born white in the southern region of this country. As a young child of
about four, I had no concept of hatred based on race, my parents never taught me to believe that
way. As I went through my years at school I came into contact with a lot more racism and began
to understand that many of the people in my community were in the grips of bigotry. I also began
to learn about the history of this nation and how white people had suppressed minorities for
decades. These things affected me in such a way that from about the time I was nine until I was
around thirteen I was almost ashamed of being a white southerner because of the connection it
created between myself and those that allowed prejudice to affect their lives and the lives of
others. As I grew older, I began to learn and discuss this topic with much greater depth and I

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began to understand that being white has nothing to do with being racist, its ignorance which
breads such foolish hatreds and I could accept myself as a southern white American.
As I southern Virginian, I also felt the effects of being raised in the Bible Belt region of
the U.S. Though my father was never very religious, my mother took my siblings and I to our
church, Liberty Baptist, every Sunday until we turned sixteen. Even my community took part in
instilling Christian values; anytime the president of the PTO came on the intercom at my school,
she would always be sure to recite scripture and wish us a Blessed Day. At first, as Im sure it
is with every child, I didnt question the religion that my parents and my community placed
before me, I simply believed. This changed as I got older. When I was in middle school I became
close friends with people of different religions. This and other factors caused me to begin to
question that which I had always been taught. When I first began to question my beliefs, it was
very difficult for me, but as time went on I began to take these new factors and incorporate them
into my belief system to form a new, more accepting way of thinking.
As the human population is divided into male and female (barring genetic anomalies),
gender is a huge part of a persons identity. Being female is a gigantic part of my identity and the
fact I was born in a southern Christian family affects the meaning of this fact even more. When I
was young my gender held very little meaning to me, I simply played with my brothers and
wanted to be just like my father. There are pictures of my father shaving and there I am at the age
of three standing beside him with shaving cream on my face and a toy razor in my hand. At that
time I even dreamed about being a boxer just like Rocky. As I got older I started to realize that
physically and in the eyes of my community there was a clear difference between the sexes. At
first it didnt really bother me, but slowly I began to chafe at these roles. I can even remember
one day at church when the sermon included scripture that stated that a woman should obey her

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husband and there was absolutely no way I could bring myself to accept that. I rebelled against
these gender roles and for years I felt something very close to a hatred of men as I experienced
what remains of the oppression of women. It took a lot of time, but gradually my anger began to
subside as I grew older and was exposed to more forward ways of thinking. I could see that most
men did not want to oppress me and that I was free to do and be what I wanted. Being a female is
something I can proudly be, without having to always be on the defensive.
All of these factors come together and have slowly formed me into the person I am today.
As the years go by these factors will be joined by new ones and I will continue to grow and
change as a person with an individual cultural identity.