|First||22 years old|
|Third|| JMC 4853/5853
Race, Gender & the Media
My name is Allison Lewis, but I have gone by Allie my whole life. I was born January 28, 1991 in Houston, TX, however, I moved to Allen, TX when I was 6 years old, so I consider it my hometown. I have one younger sister, Emmie, who is 16 years old and goes to Allen High School. My relatives are spread throughout the United States, being in Houston, TX, Memphis, TN, Tupelo, MS, and Carmel, IN. I am currently a senior at OU majoring in Advertising and minoring in Enterprise Studies and am a member of Alpha Phi sorority.
The Lewis Side of the FamilyEditMy dad, Scott Lewis, was born in College Station, TX on November 13, 1960. His whole side of the family is rooted in Texas, however, he moved back and forth from Texas and Oklahoma as a child. He has one younger brother, my Uncle Ted. My dad's side of the family actually originates from Czechoslovakia. His great great grandparents migrated to the United States from there, meaning including my generation, five generations of us have resided in the United States. My great grandparents, parents to my grandfather on this side, resided in a small town near College Station called Somerville for their whole lives. Because the town was so small, it was more like a community where everyone knew everyone, and my great grandparents were very well-known and respected. My dad spent much of his time growing up with them, and he was very close with them. Although they have unfortunately passed away in my lifetime, I did have the privilege of spending time with them and getting to know them as well. My great grandparents, parents to my paternal grandmother, resided in Brenham, TX, another small town near College Station. My great grandfather passed away before I was born, but I had a relationship with my great grandmother before she passed away. My uncle Ted met and married a woman named Jackie and they had a son, Branden, who is now 15 years old. Unfortunately, these two divorced, and Jackie is no longer in my life, but we are close to Ted and Branden and see them often. Being from the south and from a different time period, my parents have told me my great grandparents had certain behaviors toward African Americans that would not be acceptable today. Both sets of great grandparents had African American maids who could only enter and leave the house through the back door. The prejudice toward African Americans by both grandparents was not a hate-filled prejudice; it was just the norm. Both grandmothers were very fond of and close to their African American maids. This was just the customary practice in the south at the time. As the generations have gone on, this prejudice has faded away. In fact my grandmother, once swayed by her mother's prejudiced beliefs, is now a huge admirer of many of the African Americans on Texas A&M's football team (my whole dad's side of the family are huge A&M fans and were very disappointed when I chose OU over A&M). My parents have always taught me that my great grandparents ways of thinking about other races was not right, so it has never been an issue in my immediate family. Religion was also important to this side of the family, and my father was raised going to both a Baptist church with his grandparents and a Methodist church with his mother.
The Harris Side of the FamilyEditMy mom, Cindy Lewis, was born in Indianapolis, IN on October 3, 1961. She was the 3rd of 5 children. My aunts and uncles in age order are named James (Chip), Carla, Theresa, and Tim. She was born to Jim Harris, a medical doctor, and Georgia May Harris, who had a masters degree in Journalism, and was a Real Estate Broker as well as a school teacher. Sadly, my maternal grandmother, Georgia, died of colon cancer when my mom was just 16, so I have never known her face-to-face, though she is still a strong influence in my life. Jim, my grandpa, married Karen Harris before I was born, so she has been like a grandmother to me. Not much is known about this side of my family's orientation, but my mom has told me that my grandmother's grandparents immigrated to the United States from England in the late 1800's, and my grandfather's family immigrated to the United States from Ireland around the same time. I never got to meet either of my great-grandparents on this side of the family, and neither did my mother, so I know little about them. My mom was raised in a devout Catholic household, and she attended private Catholic schools growing up to receive her primary education. Being from the north, my mother's family did not display as much prejudice toward African Americans. In fact, my mom did not know many African Americans at all growing up, but she has mentioned before how she had always admired her mother's compassion for and friendship towards African Americans when other people's attitudes of the time were a little bit more judgmental. My uncle, Jim, who we call Chip, married a woman named Barbara, and they have two kids, my cousins Katie, who is 23, and Julia, who is 21. My aunt, Carla, married and has since divorced a man who I never knew, and she had a daughter, Brandy, my cousin, who is 30. Since then, Brandy has had a daughter of her own, Gia, who is now 8. My family is very close with Gia. My aunt, Theresa, married a man named Bob Anderson, and they had 2 children, my cousins, Nicholas, who is 20, and Rachel, who is 18. Tim was married once but has never had children. What is interesting about my aunts and uncles on this side of the family is that they all live such diverse lives now. My own personal speculation on this is that their mother's death when they were young caused them to be more independent and venture out into different areas of the world. However, they all still possess a strong Christian faith and a love for one another, and make time to visit each other on a regular basis.
Lewis Meets Harris and My Immediate Family is BornEditAfter graduating high school, my mom moved across the country to Houston, TX, where she received a higher education at the University of Houston. My dad went to college at Texas A&M (of course), where he earned a BBA in Accounting, and went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant designation. After college, he ended up moving to Houston, TX for a job opportunity. My parents met when they were working together as accountants at a company called Transwestern. My dad always talks about being attracted to my mom because she was intelligent and challenged him, refusing to believe the stereotype that men were more useful in the workplace than men. Once they were engaged, my father moved to a different company for a better opportunity and because their employer had rules against people in the same family working together. My parents were married November 21, 1987. It's funny, because my dad's family will call my mom and her family "Yankees" and my mom's family will make fun of my dad's family's southern accents, but it's all in jest. While these 2 meshed families do recognize a difference in culture in one another, they get along well, and both family's similar values, such as a close family, and religious faith, help them to get along. Since my dad came from a Methodist/Baptist background and my mom came from a Catholic background, they decided to do their own exploring and find a denomination that was right for them. They decided upon an Episcopalian church, which has similarities both to the protestant and Catholic denominations, and that is how my sister and I have been raised. Some of the most important rites of passages my sister and I have been through are when we both received our first communion and were confirmed at our church, Christ Episcopal, in Plano, TX. My parents have always been really hands on with us kids, and placed a strong emphasis on open communication in our household. Some other areas of importance in our household is humor and animals. We are a really goofy family who like to do stupid things and tease each other and our sense of humor is very similar. We also always place importance on our pets and consider them a big part of our family. Right now, we have three dogs, Rudy and Gordo, who live with my parents and sister in Allen, and Scooter, who lives in Norman with me. We also value extracurricular activities. My sister and I have always been in dance, and have tried various other sports as well, and we were also in clubs, such as Student Council and NHS in school. If I had to say which of my parents' upbringing mine was most like, I would say it was more similar to my dad's, since I have been raised in the south like he was. Because of my southern culture, my family has placed importance on things like football and fried foods, as well as having conservative views, all very stereotypical southern-like things. In fact, my dad and I actually have a somewhat new tradition regarding football. As I have mentioned, since he is a big A&M fan and I am now a big OU fan, we always have our own family rivalry during A&M vs. OU football games. We will either watch the games together, or be in constant communication during the games, teasing each other and putting down the other team. Since A&M has now joined the SEC, I'm not sure of how often these 2 teams will now play each other, but it made for an interesting playoff this year, which unfortunately ended in defeat for my team, the Sooners.
Holidays and TraditionsEditMy family places a lot of importance on the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas and believes that they are time to be spent with family and reflect on the things that are important to us. Generally, for most Thanksgivings and Christmases, we will set time apart to be with both sides of the family. For Thanksgiving, we usually do every other year with who we celebrate with- my mom's or dad's side of the family. When we celebrate with my dad's side of the family, we usually go to my grandma's house in Houston, TX. Everyone in the family will contribute a different dish, and when we eat, we say a grace before the meal, and then we will each go around the table and say something that we are thankful for. My grandma also stocks up on black olives for me, because she knows they are my favorite. After the meal, the rest of the day is filled with family time and football. When we celebrate with my mom's side of the family, we usually celebrate at my Uncle Chip's house in Memphis, TN, because it is about the same amount of distance from both Texas and Indiana, where the rest of my mom's family resides. We also all contribute a dish, say grace and what we're thankful for, and watch football on this side of the family. For Christmas, when we celebrate it with my dad's side of the family, they usually visit us in Allen, TX. We all go to our church together on Christmas Eve and go look at Christmas lights after. Then on Christmas day, we all wake up and open Christmas presents together. When we celebrate with my mom's side of the family, we all travel to Memphis again. Because this side of the family is so large, each of us will draw someone else's name in the family to buy a present for, and we will open them all together Christmas day. A tradition that my cousins and I started when we were young was to put on a Christmas pageant of the night Jesus was born for all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and we also watch home videos of pageants in the past and other family memories. For Easter, we usually spend it with the family at home, and my grandma on my dad's side usually visits. We go to church Easter morning, and open Easter baskets later in the day. Since my sister and I are both older now, we have slowly phased out the Easter egg hunt. Another interesting holiday that my family celebrates that not many do is St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. We leave our shoes out the night before and "St. Nicholas" fills them with treats, almost like a preview for Christmas. An additional important rite of passage in my family is the trip my Aunt Carla takes with each cousin as they turn 13 to any place in the U.S. of their choice. It's important to her, because she wants to maintain a relationship with us as we grow up, and it gives us the chance to explore and learn about something we might otherwise not.
How My Family Has Shaped MeEdit
My family has given me many of the values that I hold near and dear today. Because I was so firmly brought up in faith, I have developed a love and concern for all people, regardless of of their race, sexual orientation, etc. In regards to religious ideals on things such as homosexuality, I have always been taught to "love the sinner, hate the sin." I see no reason to treat anyone any differently because of any of their preferences. Also, my parents have made me aware of all my strengths and have encouraged me to do my best and reach for my dreams. I have always been told I am intelligent and am capable of so much, and have never worried that being a girl would hinder this process. I have also been taught to respect myself and not tolerate any disrespect from any male, or anyone for that matter. I really appreciate the way that I have been brought up, and I look forward to teaching my children the same important things.