Starting at birth, I was biased. We were all biased. As seen in the “60 Minutes The Baby Lab” episode, we, as human beings, are born to favor people who look like us, who like the same things as us, who stand for what we stand for. In our little minds back then, actions were wrong or right, people were good or bad — life was black or white. However, as we grow up in different environments, we nourish our innate morals and beliefs differently.
Growing up in Cupertino, it is hard to be but anything but liberal. The left-skewed environment despises the right. We breathe pro-choice, gay rights, feminism, equality; we easily dehumanize those in favor of pro-life, traditional marriage, patriarchy. Unconsciously or subconsciously — or maybe even consciously, I have been nurtured to follow liberal news sources, to adopt liberal viewpoints.
Example: In literature, I read “Citizen,” “The White Boy Shuffle” and “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” all books about racism and intersectionality. After so many pages and chapters, I accepted and internalized some of their themes: racism is institutionally enforced by the police, black women suffer racism and sexism.
Within the art community, I find myself inspired. I have met animators whose hands have swelled from overexertion. I have met artists who stay in their studio until they fell asleep, still holding their paintbrushes, charcoal pencils and canvases. I have met high school writers writing novels. I have been nurtured to believe that hard work can achieve nearly anything.
Example: During a summer program for the arts, my environment pushed me out of my comfort zone. Walking to class every day for a month, I passed through halls and halls of rotating artwork; I was always left in awe of how much talent and creativity the other high school students possessed. As every individual searched for an outline to their own self-definition, I did the same and still do. Because of this summer program, I actively look to be unique.
Yet some nurturing forces are stronger than others.
My family always tells me to “never pity yourself.” I was raised to do things myself. There is always someone in a worse position, a worse situation or a worse environment. Complaining about anything in Cupertino is a flashing red sign of ungratefulness: spoiled affluence.
From this constant reinforcement, my family nurtured me to be grateful. As a result, I constantly keep in mind the privilege I was born with and have right now.
In my attempts to determine the degree of influence of nature and nurture within my life, I have come to the realization that I am not in control of my beliefs. The only choices are nature and nurture. I, myself, am neither nature nor nurture. I, myself, am neither the biological instincts nor the environment I live in. While nature is instinctual and coded into me, nurture is all around me. I experience nurture first-hand in my actions. Nurture changes, but nature does not. So compared to the set of beliefs I was born with, the beliefs and behaviors I have now are much more prominent. I would argue that nurture has impacted my beliefs more than nature: nature only has an impact on my instincts while nurture will continue to follow me through the rest of my life, each of its elements changing my personality and my beliefs.