Self Identity In Othello

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Racism Destroys Self-Identity A society consists of different cultures with people of diverse looks, values, and beliefs. In a world with one predominant culture, those perceived as different from the norm are associated with negative images, treated inferior to the superior culture. The negative images associated with color, specifically blackness, has a detrimental effect on the victims who are racially stereotyped. The character of Othello is a unique character in English literature, because unlike the other members of society, Othello was an outsider in Venice, a black man living in a white world, marrying a white woman, and leading white men as a soldier. Othello is persuaded that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him leading him to…show more content…
Self-identity is linked to racial and culture identities. By being perceived as dangerous, a black man is taught to associate himself with ugliness and fear, conforming to the culture of the white society and in turn destroying his social identity. Racism subjects the victims as “immoral human beings, which challenge the humanity and social racial identity of African Americans” (Cowhig 157). For examples, Brent Staples is a reputable and educated man, attending the university of Chicago, but people are quick to assume that a “youngish black man-a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket seemed menacingly close” (Staples 314) to a woman one late evening in an impoverished section of Chicago. As a black man, Staples understood “that being perceived as dangerous is a hazard in itself” (Staples 310). Therefore, he accepts his treacherous conditions and conforms to white values and beliefs. He destroys his self-identity, becoming a white-face, in exchange for security and safety. For examples, Staples waited to leave a building or enter the subway until the nervous white people around left, walked in the daylight rather than at night, started wearing business clothes rather than jeans, and sang songs depicting white culture such as Beethoven and Vivaldi. The black man conforms to white culture, seeing…show more content…
By not even recognizing the black population as human beings, society is instilling long-term psychological effects on a person. Racism creates feelings of inferiority, destroys self-identity, and damages mental health. Studies of discrimination and mental health indicate effects of “depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychological disorder” (Ruma 35). Othello’s deterioration from a rational, peaceful, and calm man to an irrational, violent, and impulsive man was driven by the color prejudice and racism. The negative images associated with the black color has long-lasting effects on the self-esteem of the victims. It is imperative that racism is minimized in society to save any more innocent lives from being physically, mentally, and emotionally destroyed by racism, as the lives of Othello, Desdemona, Emilia, and Roderigo serve truth to this fact. Psychological effects of racism is not temporary, it has affected the lives of the black population in the past and continue to do in the present. The injustice of racism is a prevalent problem, as the forms of racism has taken different forms in accordance with the changing times, but the long-lasting psychological effects of racism is painful and
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