HERITAGE: KS4 Commended
Joseph in Year 10 shares his thoughts on the difficulty of defining yourself for the task of Heritage, culminating in a brilliant conclusion that shines a light on the importance of openness and tolerance.
“Write about your heritage”, “The country you were born in”, “where your grandparents came from”.
It all sounds so easy, right?
Mr Dixon kindly shared his own story about growing up with a Korean mother in Surrey and other teachers told the tales of their families in Nigeria and The Caribbean. I loved hearing about these histories, but what would I write about?
I am a white, British boy born in London and both my parents are from England too. All four of my grandparents were born in the UK. Not much for me to work with there. I would love to speak another language or celebrate cultural events from another country. I would love to be a little bit “exotic”, as it were.
I understand why we were asked to write about our heritage. In a diverse school like Bolingbroke, there will be an array of interesting submissions. You will be handed numerous examples of our culturally rich community.
On this occasion, I have struggled, and that is fine. I do not face the challenges that can come with having a more complex background. I have not had to struggle with feeling different because of where I am from, or not seeing my extended family because they live so far away. I do not have to explain how school works in the UK or translate reports for my parents. I have not had to choose which national football team to support. So, I usually have it easy, but not for this assignment.
I look forward to seeing what others contribute, but all I can say is that their heritage is helping to define me. I am proud to be a white, British Londoner, even more so when I am outside of the capital. My identity is shaped by my experiences at a multicultural school in a multicultural city.
My heritage is not where I come from, but where I have been, what I have experienced, who I spend time with. I am so lucky to live in the most diverse city in the world, where everyone I talk to has a different story and a different outlook. They shape my acceptance of everyone, and they make me a better person.
That is who I am.
That is my heritage.