Country of Origin
The country of origin that I identify with the most is Morocco. Located in the Africa, Morocco has a very diverse and vibrant culture. It is a multiethnic society, rich in religious activity as well as civilization and customs. Primarily, the citizens of Morocco are Arab in race. Being a part of this culture is something that I am very proud about.
My family identifies themselves as Moroccan. We are all proud of being a part of the culture this country provides us. There are many mottos and proverbs that have been passed down through the generations. This is surprising to others when I reveal it. Many know about Chinese proverbs full of wisdom, but not many know that the Moroccans have equally useful sayings. One of my family’s favorites and perhaps the one that we all live by is, “Work, and you will be strong; sit, and you will stink.” I understand it may not be as eloquent as many Chinese proverbs, but the lesson is still very useful. Many members of my family believe in a strong work ethic; laziness is not often tolerated. Everybody takes time to relax, but we all understand, from a young age, that there is time for relaxation, and there is time for productivity. Stagnation is not desirable. Another saying, a favorite of the women in my family, is “A wise woman has many things to say, but remains silent.” The lesson of this motto is not difficult to decipher, and it is just as useful for men as for women. Just because you know many things does not mean you have to say them out loud. Especially in dramatic situations where gossip is involved, this can lead to trouble. There is no need to share every detail you know about somebody else’s affairs.
There are many respected values in Moroccan culture; most seem to parallel the values of Arab culture. One of the most important values of the culture is the values handed down by religious principles. Though Judaism and Christianity coexist in Morocco, Islam is the primary religion and most of their cultural values are based on Islamic teachings. The second most valued thing in Moroccan culture is family. Family units are very important; it is considered a bond that is never worth breaking. Unlike many countries, who do not include extended family in this, Moroccan culture values extended family just as much as immediate family. Moroccan’s value a sense of community, as well. Helping a neighbor or a friend is very important in Moroccan culture. Character traits such as honor and respect are also dear to Moroccan people. Without honor or the ability to show respect, Moroccan people believe their sense of community would fall apart. Without a sense of community, activities such as religious practice are believed to fall apart. Finally a sense of privacy is an important value to the Moroccan people. While Moroccans know how important family and community togetherness can be, they also value boundaries and privacy very deeply. Time alone, as well as social etiquette, is important.
Racial, Ethnic, and Sexual Differences
As previously mentioned, privacy is very important to the Moroccan people. My family is no exception. While all of my questions were answered, some things were not discussed. Significant problems within the family were not discussed because, even though a family is also something we value, it does not mean we discuss when somebody gets divorced, or decides to stay in an abusive relationship. Specifically, when one of my aunts was beaten by her husband but decided to stay, I knew that it had happened but was not allowed to ask why because this matter was private, and we were not to discuss such things.
I believe the developmental period between the ages of ten and fifteen impacted how I view other races and ethnicities more than any other time. I was becoming a judgmental adolescent. Though I never complained about somebody because of the color of their skin or their religion, there were many other things I found to gossip over. My family was insistent that I do not behave in this way. They demanded that I get to know people before I made a decision about them, whether it is good or bad. And I was to get to know everybody, no matter what they looked like, how they dressed, or whom they hung around. Though this was not specifically directed toward people racially and ethnically different than me, I like to believe the lesson carried over to other areas of my life. Though I am not a person who claims to be “colorblind,” believing that fighting ignorance with ignorance is the cure, I still do not care about people racial or ethnic backgrounds. Primarily I care about if they chew with their mouths open or walk across my carpet without taking off their wet shoes.
In sum, I discovered a few things about my family while doing this assignment. As I mentioned, I was inquisitive as a child. I already know a lot about Morocco. However, I did not know that some members of my family disapproved of homosexuals. Though, given their religious background, I can understand their viewpoints, I still find it unacceptable. It was disheartening to hear. In contrast, it was pleasant to hear about so many relatives seeing past racial, ethnic, and religious boundaries so far back into history. Religious beliefs and skin color can often divide people so quickly. Knowing that my family did not let it stop them from creating a community makes me not only proud to be Moroccan, but proud to be related to my family.