Issues of Identity-Part 1

Identity. It’s the foundation of who we are, or who we want to be, and it may change depending upon the people and situations with which one may come into contact.

Tiger Woods – Yes. I know about the sex scandal. YAWN. Prior to that, people were on his case for failing to identify as 100% black/African American, despite the fact that he isn’t. His marriage to a white, Nordic woman did little to appease these critics. Harold Ford Jr., I’m sure is able to relate to this.

I have never understood why strangers think it any of their fucking business whom a person marries or what someone’s family history is, but we seem to have many obsessed with these matters here in the USA. I suppose this view (among others) makes me a privacy  advocate of sorts, I was very pleased with the passage of GINA – the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Getting people to realize that family history is personal might be a small step in the direction of tolerance, as would the realization that all humans have common ancestry.

That many people aren’t 100% black but choose to identity themselves as such is all well and good, as is the fact that everyone is genetically mixed to some degree, but why should that trump freedom of self-definition and self-determination? Why do people have to identify in a way that only serves the emotional and/or political motivations of others?

How you are perceived is a big part of your identity. Harry Reid, who I feel is under attack for acknowledging the elephant in the room that is racism and its impact on election outcomes, alluded to the belief held by many that in order to be accepted by the majority, you must emulate that majority in some way. In this case, having lighter skin and speaking in a manner more acceptable to the majority were perceived as desirable assets which made Obama a more palatable candidate in a presidential election. The apparent reluctance on the part of conservatives and the GOP to admit this political and perceptual truism infuriates me.

Mr. Reid touched upon what many people of color face in relation to member of their own communities or in connection to the majority. “You don’t act black.” (Or Latino, or any other label you care to insert). So many people in minority groups are challenged daily to prove their street crediblity within their own group, is it any wonder that some reject the majority culture while others embrace it at some level? Whose culture do you embrace (more)? This is a key question of identity and is being unanswered and unasked by Mr. Reid’s detractors.

Interesting article about perceptual segregation…


2 thoughts on “Issues of Identity-Part 1

  1. kenoshamarge says:

    I agree with much of what you say.

    However I don’t believe that the GOP or Conservatives for that matter are reluctant to acknowledge this “truism”. I think they just say a way to hammer Reid because of the way he “framed’ his remarks. Reid has a well known history of sticking his foot in his mouth.

    I think the GOP and the Conservatives also see a giant double standard when it comes to “inartful’ or “foot-in-the-mouth” remarks.

    As an Independent that hasn’t much use for either major party I find the whole brouhaha much ado about nothing. I don’t care what color someone’s skin is nor do I care about their party affiliation. I like good, honest, decent human beings who want to make life better for other human beings and who don’t lie, cheat, steal to do it.

    • andy2700 says:

      I do think it’s fair to say that GOP and conservative pundits have not been paying much attention to the underlying realities of racism and race relations per se, and more on trying spin this in the worst possible light for Democrats and liberals to gain political capital.

      I wish that more people were indifferent to physical appearance, but depressingly too few are quite there yet psychologically or spiritually.

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