Racial Identity Within The United States Essay

Racial Identity Within The United States Essay

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From the beginning of time, there was not a distinction between races, however race became an item around the time slavery began. Although anybody could be a slave, in the United States, most slaves were black, which began to create the idea of racial identities. After slavery was abolished, there was a distinct difference between the white and black community. One man stated, “he realizes silently, restlessly, the world about flows by him in two great streams: they ripple on in the same sunshine, they approach and mingle their waters in seeming carelessness, -- then they divide and flow wide apart” (Du Bois, 2005, pp. 177). Two major factors that assign racial identities to blacks in the United States are physical appearance and the one drop rule. Two major factors that determine racial identity within the community are skin color and gender.
To begin with, physical characteristics especially in facial features and skin color distinguish the blacks from the whites. Blacks can be categorized by the stereotypes of nappy hair, broad noses, dark eyes, large lips, and dark skin. Blacks are perceived in a different way than what they actually look like, which makes themselves to start to believe that is what they look like themselves (Ethnic Notions). Because they want to fit into society, they try to conform by “fixing” their appearance. For instance, people such as Oprah Winfrey and ordinary African Americans have put clothes pins on their noses to try to narrow their nose (Dark Girls). Although some African Americans embrace “black beauty” by sporting afros, cornrows, and dreadlocks, others try to straighten their hair. They will go the lengths to chemically treat and straighten their hair. Additionally, because African American...

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... appearance than the men. For instance, the woman have to worry about their type of hair. If a woman has nappy hair, she is looked down upon by the rest of the community, however if she has straight hair, she is hated by blacks who do not have straight hair. Normally, factors such as appearance affect women more than men.
Overall, there are so many different factors that affect racial identity inside and outside of the large society. Blacks are always and have always been discriminated against, but it seems to start within their own black community. Gender and skin tone distinguish racial identity within their community, and physical appearance and the one drop rule can distinguish racial identity in the larger society. There never seems to be a winning situation for blacks because the society or the black community hold themselves to their own standard.

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