Constructs of Identity

1782 Words8 Pages
Identity often refers to a sort of desperate quest or a deliberately confused search through both a mental and moral experience. However, Erikson approaches this idea as an experience that will almost be a surprise that sneaks up on one, rather than something that can be found. The process of identity formation is located in the core of an individual, and also in the core of ones communal culture. This process is ever changing and developing, but reaches a crisis during the stage of adolescence. At the earliest stage of the identity crisis there is an important need for trust in oneself and others. Adolescents, at this stage, look passionately for ideas to place faith in, and additionally, ideas, which seem worthwhile to prove trustworthy. Erikson explains, “at the same time the adolescent fears a foolish, all too trusting commitment, and will, paradoxically, express his need for faith in loud and cynical mistrust” (Erikson, p. 252). This stage of identity formation is very confusing to youth because of the pull between childhood and adulthood. The adolescent undergoes and inner struggle of whether they wish to follow certain morals and beliefs, and the fear of committing to a specific identity. The second stage establishes the necessity of being defined by what one can will freely. The adolescent is now looking for an opportunity to decide freely on one of the available or unavoidable duty and service, and is at the same time terrified of being forced to engage in activities, which may expose one to ridicule. This further adds to the confusion of adolescents and identity formation. An adolescent is torn between acting shamelessly in the eyes of his or her elders, out of free choice, than to be forced into activities t... ... middle of paper ... ...American males include: viewing as endangered species or as criminals. These two cultural representations are rooted in actual material conditions and reflect existing social conditions and relations. Teachers use both these images for identifying classifications and decision-making for students, but more specifically African American males. Through these societal views children are sorted into categories of “educability” as they get specific reputations in their classrooms. However, many teachers identify these students as “unsalvageable”, which in result become publicly shared by school adults, and are more likely to view these students as “at risk” (Ferguson, p. 326). Once reputations are established, the identity of these students is already being shaped by the social constructions of the schools and the rules and reputations that govern the students.
Open Document