Essay about The Complexity Of Identity : Who Am I?

Essay about The Complexity Of Identity : Who Am I?

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What is identity? Identity is an unbound formation which is created by racial construction and gender construction within an individual’s society even though it is often seen as a controlled piece of oneself. In Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum’s piece, “The Complexity of Identity: ‘Who Am I?’, Tatum asserts that identity is formed by “individual characteristics, family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political contexts” (Tatum 105). Tatum’s piece, “The Complexity of Identity: ‘Who Am I?’” creates a better understanding of how major obstacles such as racism and sexism shape our self identity.
Racism is a daily obstacle for some, but also serves as a falsified daily reminder that they are not as intelligent, as worthy, or as capable compared to other people belonging to socially superior races. In “The Complexity of Identity: ‘Who Am I?’”, Tatum introduces a concept entitled the “looking glass self” in which how a person perceives oneself is reliant upon how a person is perceived by others (Tatum 105). Media plays a significant role in the “looking glass self” because while a person is watching television for their own entertainment, they are simultaneously being brainwashed into accepting degrading stereotypes as truth. For example, a white person could watch a reality television show featuring a predominately black cast and afterwards, believe that all black people love to fight, are uneducated, and only care about the newest sneaker releases. This will then impact how a white person interacts with a black person; a white woman may follow a black man around the store under simple suspicion that they may steal or the white male may pull over a black woman without any logical reasoning because the black woman looked like they...


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... identity, they focus on the parts that are seen as unwanted in their society; for example, a person identifying as a woman while living in a society like the United States that uses the masculinist tradition will probably describe herself as a woman first because that is the first characteristic that other people see while she exists in society so consequently, that is the first characteristic that she mentions. Not one society is perfect. This is exhibited throughout this essay while focusing on the concepts of racism and sexism as prevalent issues with the society of the United States in relation to the complexity and formation of one’s identity. With that being said, a flawed society impacts a person’s identity because issues such as racism and sexism reinforce the subordinate and dominant culture as described by Tatum in “The Complexity of Identity: ‘Who Am I?’”

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