My name is Tyler Martin Mahoney and I was born on June 5, 1992, in Lawton, Okla., to Jeff and Shellina Mahoney. I have one sister named Brooke whom is 25-years-old and married to my brother-in-law Philip. I moved schools several times growing up, because my dad is a high school basketball coach; however, I spent most of my childhood in Roosevelt, Okla. The population of the town is around 200 people and there are only a few businesses left in the ghost town. The school closed down in 1993 and that is when the residents refer to the down dying. Although it was small, I felt like I had a great childhood. My dad’s side of the family all live in Roosevelt, and I developed
|First||Published: 28 April 2014|
|Third||Class: JMC 4853 Race, Gender & the Media|
Everyone in my family has either been a preacher or a farmer/laborer. My dad, Jeff Mahoney, grew up in Roosevelt, Okla., as a farm kid and my mom, Shellina Mahoney, grew up in Lawton, Okla., as the daughter of a handyman and housewife. My mom and dad were the first to go to college from either side of their families. My dad was able to go to Cameron University through an athletic scholarship where he played baseball for four years. My mom went to college through an academic scholarship and working part-time jobs. My dad is now a high school girls’ basketball [coach] , and has been to the state championship game six different times as a head coach. Mymom is a kindergarten teacher, and she has won teacher of the year three different times. She is currently working on her master’s degree so she can become an administrator.
The Wallace Side
My mom is the daughter of Muriel (Mema) and Alfred (PaPaw) Wallace. My Mema grew up in Lawton, with two brothers, three sisters and an alcoholic dad. Her mother left them when she was a baby, so the eldest sister raised the family. She had a very hard life that she does not talk about; however, she met my PaPaw in high school and his family took her in as part of the family. They got married straight out of high school, and began working just to make it by on what they had. My Mema and PaPaw have always been great Christian role models for me, and my PaPaw worked harder than anyone I have ever known. He died to cancer last summer. I never got to know their parents.
The Mahoney Side
My dad is the son of Martin (Pa) and Beth Mahoney (Ma). My Pa grew up in Roosevelt, Okla., and was the son of farmers. His mom’s family had moved there from Kentucky. His dad’s families were Pentecostal Holiness preachers. I have heard my Pa mention how his grandparents would speak in tongues, which is considered controversial in the Southern Baptist church that our family belongs to. My Ma grew up in Hobart, Okla., which is 10 miles north of where my Pa was raised and that is how they met each other. My Ma was raised by farmers/small business owners. She dropped out of high school; however, but went back and got her GED later because she wanted to be a good example to her kids to stay in school. Her mom (Momo) is still alive today at 103-years-old.
My Oldest Living RelativeEdit
Growing up I was always around my great-grandmother, Momo. She is an extraordinary lady at the age of 103. If you ever are in Roosevelt, Ok, stop by and have coffee with her. Her stories will amaze you. She was born as Bessie Allene Mitchell in Ector, Fannin Co., Texas on Sept. 3, 1911. She was born prematurely and there were no incubators during the time, so they kept her in an oven to keep her warm. She grew up on a ranch with her parents, four brothers and five sisters. She often tells stories of the men in her family going on cattle runs from westTexas to Kansas many times during the year for them to earn profit. Many times she refers to herself as the runt in the family, but she said all of her brothers and sisters always would stand up to her if she was bullied. The family moved to Cheyenne, Okla., in 1922, when she was 11-years-old. There she attended a one room school house, and said she had to walk 3 miles every day to get to school. In high school she played on the girls’ basketball team, and loved to learn about politics.
In 1932 she married Dale Penrod and they opened a grocery store that still stands in Cheyenne today. This was during the era of the Great Depression and Dust [Bowl] . She often reflects on how there was so much dirt in the air that you could not have a meal without tasting dust with every bite. The depression hit my family hard during this time, and it shaped how she lived the rest of her life. To this day she is a staunch democrat due to her beliefs that democrats are for the working man and republicans are for the business man. She speaks of[Franklin D. Roosevelt] , and how he brought them out of the hard times.
My Momo had three children, while living in Cheyenne. When the oldest boy was in high school they decided he needed to move to a larger school where he could excel academically, so they moved to Hobart, Okla. Hobart was a good move, because her oldest son went to Oklahoma State University on a baseball scholarship and ended up becoming an engineer. It was also good because her youngest daughter, my grandmother (Ma), met my grandfather (Pa). Although my Momo is 103-years-old she is still as sharp as ever. She has voted in every election since she has been registered and she is a die-hard sports fan. She recently discovered she could not play in fantasy sports leagues anymore, once she found out it was gambling. She is the oldest living relative I have and her life story if truly amazing.
Race and GenderEdit
When I think about racism in my family it is an issue that I am sometimes uncomfortable discussing with others. I feel like if varies from each generation how people of different ethnicities are viewed within my family. I feel like my mom’s side of the family has a different outlook than my dad’s. Growing up around my dad’s family I had always heard one of my great-grandmothers (not my Momo) talk of racism. She grew up in an era, when black and white schools were segregated so they viewed color as a bad thing (especially in a small town like Roosevelt). People of color lived on the other side of the railroad tracks in town, and my family did not associate with them.
The next generation is my grandparents. They have a slightly less aggressive opinion of people from different ethnicities, but still an opinion. They think if they ``act white,`` then they are okay. My Pa used to coach the all black baseball team in town, and he used to tell me stories about his experience with them. He made friends with several of his players, and said they were some of the best people he knew; however, he did not approve of others. When I played sports with African American students in high school and befriended them, my Ma and Pa were extremely selective of whom they approved of. My mom’s side of the family is very different. I never knew my great grandparents on her side, but I did grow up around my grandparents. Their views were much more nonchalant. This is why I think my mom is so loving. Although there is no diversity in my immediate family, I have several cousins who are of mixed ethnicities. My grandparents have always been extremely loving and inclusive for as long as I have known them.
My Mom and Dad are not racist. My dad is a basketball coach, and several of his players over the years have been of mixed ethnicities. My mom loves everyone, so race or gender does not matter to her. I do believe they are ignorant about white privilege, and do not see the big picture, however.
The issue of gender roles I feel like is the same throughout my family. I was always taught that women were supposed to be feminine, and men were supposed to be masculine. I do not feel like traditionally women would be put in the sports scene or do manual labor. However, all of the women in my family have been athletes at least throughout high school, and when it comes to farm work they are just as assertive as the men. As far as sexuality and sexual orientation, homosexuality is unacceptable in my family. Even though my views are much more progressive and differ from those of my families, I still think they have hearts of gold. They are great people just set in their ways. They would never do anything or say anything to be racist or homophobic, it is just their opinion.
I feel like I am extremely blessed to be where I am at today. I have had so many opportunities given to me that no one in my family could have ever imagined being possible for them. Each generation of my family has moved up in social classes. I feel like the work ethic and strong morals that have been passed down through my family over the years have gotten me to where I am today. My views on issues are a lot more progressive compared to former generations, but I feel like that just comes with time. If I had not come to OU, or went on a [trip] to Jamaica, I would probably think how my mom and dad do about white privilege. It is my duty to make sure that I teach the next generations of my family to be inclusive of everyone.