the deShaping of an Identity II

When I was growing up in Lagos Nigeria, the concept of ‘being black’ was absolutely non-existent, some might agree that we where all black after all so why think as such. Upon moving to the United States, I had to learn a new identity–being black.

What exactly is being black? Yesterday I discussed the shaping of an identity in light of religion, at least, religion is something that can be done away with and an identity can be rebuilt on something else. What about when your identity is what you cannot do away with, like, your skin color; in my case being black

I have thought of the concept of blackness in America and though the physical slavery is done with, there is, lying somewhere, somehow, the slavery of the mind. I’m starting to wonder how the black identity can be de-shaped until I came to this understanding:

We hand to others how we need to be addressed. If we want to be seen as the typical ‘black’, we would be treated as such. That’s not to say, some wouldn’t initially approach with the stereotype on mind; forgoing it, I came to realize it is one of the ‘add-on’ that comes with the color.

I’m still trying to understand how to effectively demystify the shaping of my identity as a black person, I would prefer to have an identity as a person whose skin color is black, it is tough to make the mental breakthrough (especially when one is continually treated as a black person) but I’m striving and helping others along in the strife.

18 Comments

  1. this is a long long discussion. being a person with a darker skin color is different than acting “black”. i have a problem with those who act black, cuz for some reason these ppl stereotype themselves n think blacks ARE supposed to be criminals. so in order to be black, they need to get in trouble. and my issue with them is that they can think for themselves n make their own decisions. yes, its harder for them to get out of it, but its possible. yet many many of them CHOOSE to keep this cycle going cuz its easier. thats y i dont sympathize with those ppl. u can always say others have it easy, until u go thru it urself. im not saying blacks have it easy, im saying NO ONE in america has it easy. ppl should learn to stand up for themselves n not blame others for everything.

    1. “…NO ONE in america has it easy” That is definitely untrue; no one in this life has is it, some just have it easier that others. While it doesn’t guarantee a good living in America, being non-colored helps.

      But that’s not my point, my point is: the identity of blackness is difficult to break hold from–especially in the US where the identity is built into you (compared to other ethnicity) either you prefer to want to or not. Of course you raise the point that some prefer the loop because it is easier, yes, compared to other option that has capped a glass ceiling over their head.

      Why, would you think black neighborhood are always the most dangerous? Because blacks are more dangerous? No! Blacks in America have being conditioned *into* the stereotype; now, breaking out of that stereotype is the point of this post–acknowledging the problem.

  2. this is a long long discussion. being a person with a darker skin color is different than acting “black”. i have a problem with those who act black, cuz for some reason these ppl stereotype themselves n think blacks ARE supposed to be criminals. so in order to be black, they need to get in trouble. and my issue with them is that they can think for themselves n make their own decisions. yes, its harder for them to get out of it, but its possible. yet many many of them CHOOSE to keep this cycle going cuz its easier. thats y i dont sympathize with those ppl. u can always say others have it easy, until u go thru it urself. im not saying blacks have it easy, im saying NO ONE in america has it easy. ppl should learn to stand up for themselves n not blame others for everything.

    1. “…NO ONE in america has it easy” That is definitely untrue; no one in this life has is it, some just have it easier that others. While it doesn’t guarantee a good living in America, being non-colored helps.

      But that’s not my point, my point is: the identity of blackness is difficult to break hold from–especially in the US where the identity is built into you (compared to other ethnicity) either you prefer to want to or not. Of course you raise the point that some prefer the loop because it is easier, yes, compared to other option that has capped a glass ceiling over their head.

      Why, would you think black neighborhood are always the most dangerous? Because blacks are more dangerous? No! Blacks in America have being conditioned *into* the stereotype; now, breaking out of that stereotype is the point of this post–acknowledging the problem.

  3. Being Black is same as being White or Asian. The truth is no one is ever happy with whom they are. We all strive to be perfect, but being perfect at time is not being a specific race or a specific person, but having qualities from each race or qualities from various groups to whom we think highly of.

    True some allow the past, slavery, to have a hold on them. They want someone to blame for things they did directly go through. Those who did experience slavery, in my opinion, do not ever want another human being to suffer through.

    Being black has its ups and downs just like being any other race. It is really how one sees it that makes a difference. If you think lower of yourself because of where you came from, you are likely not going to surpass small difficulties because you are letting something that indirectly has nothing to do with you affect you.

    Also, we cannot blame todays “white man” for what they parents or grandparents did. Would you want to be blamed for your parents actions?

    No doubt there are those who are racist, but can we truly blame someone for something they don’t know? I’m not saying their ignorance is forgivable, but is there a chance that they had a bad experience with one or two black people that they assume all black act as such. Not to mention the way media at time present “black men.”

    May I now ask if you do not talk to about “white men” as if they are all the same? think about in discussions with your friends (non white).

    1. I agree that ignorance is forgivable and I’m not blaming today’s white man for the ills of the past BUT, is being black really the same as any other ethnicity? I think not. Why?

      I expatiate in my reply to Saba’s comment above–the blacks are running against the current in many cases and in some cases have the American socio-economic system built against their favor.

      My argument can’t be good enough till you read Derrick Jensen’s ‘The Culture of Make Believe (http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Make-Believe-Derrick-Jensen/dp/1931498571/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281561512&sr=1-1) and note that this man is a white male (the most advantaged group in America)–I wouldn’t spoil the book’s message, borrow it and read and I’m sure you’d learn a thing or two on America’s sly racism in the 21st CE.

  4. Being Black is same as being White or Asian. The truth is no one is ever happy with whom they are. We all strive to be perfect, but being perfect at time is not being a specific race or a specific person, but having qualities from each race or qualities from various groups to whom we think highly of.

    True some allow the past, slavery, to have a hold on them. They want someone to blame for things they did directly go through. Those who did experience slavery, in my opinion, do not ever want another human being to suffer through.

    Being black has its ups and downs just like being any other race. It is really how one sees it that makes a difference. If you think lower of yourself because of where you came from, you are likely not going to surpass small difficulties because you are letting something that indirectly has nothing to do with you affect you.

    Also, we cannot blame todays “white man” for what they parents or grandparents did. Would you want to be blamed for your parents actions?

    No doubt there are those who are racist, but can we truly blame someone for something they don’t know? I’m not saying their ignorance is forgivable, but is there a chance that they had a bad experience with one or two black people that they assume all black act as such. Not to mention the way media at time present “black men.”

    May I now ask if you do not talk to about “white men” as if they are all the same? think about in discussions with your friends (non white).

    1. I agree that ignorance is forgivable and I’m not blaming today’s white man for the ills of the past BUT, is being black really the same as any other ethnicity? I think not. Why?

      I expatiate in my reply to Saba’s comment above–the blacks are running against the current in many cases and in some cases have the American socio-economic system built against their favor.

      My argument can’t be good enough till you read Derrick Jensen’s ‘The Culture of Make Believe (http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Make-Believe-Derrick-Jensen/dp/1931498571/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281561512&sr=1-1) and note that this man is a white male (the most advantaged group in America)–I wouldn’t spoil the book’s message, borrow it and read and I’m sure you’d learn a thing or two on America’s sly racism in the 21st CE.

  5. You are right, the past do definitely affect the way Blacks are perceived.

    My only concern is that the way majority of The Blacks act place an unfavorable bias against all Blacks.

    In order to be part of society, one must behave in accordance to societies laws and believes. If one fail to do so, one is seen as outcast. Society expects everyone to act the same; in some sense. In societies eye, one should want to be part of society, act as others do, and most of all be respectful of others in public as well as self.

    There is ignorance in every race, but those without culture or with little culture, are most ignorant. lack of education also affect people. These people, ones with lack of education and culture, are the ones that can place negativity thinking about a whole race.

    One must exclude self as being associated with such people to fit in the group they which to play part of. Does not mean one has to relinquish who one is. They must understand who they are and place in front of them whom they want to be.

    No doubt once in a while, you will find someone who is not willing to give Blacks a chance, but I find the number that think that way has diminish greatly do to the fact that many, in this age, have experience some kind of intentional bias; and I am sure they did not like. High School in America, from my knowledge, has allowed all race to feel unwanted as some point.

    -L-

    1. All the varying points made here are well placed. It all lies to the realization of the problem to then lift off the stereotype of one’s self.

  6. You are right, the past do definitely affect the way Blacks are perceived.

    My only concern is that the way majority of The Blacks act place an unfavorable bias against all Blacks.

    In order to be part of society, one must behave in accordance to societies laws and believes. If one fail to do so, one is seen as outcast. Society expects everyone to act the same; in some sense. In societies eye, one should want to be part of society, act as others do, and most of all be respectful of others in public as well as self.

    There is ignorance in every race, but those without culture or with little culture, are most ignorant. lack of education also affect people. These people, ones with lack of education and culture, are the ones that can place negativity thinking about a whole race.

    One must exclude self as being associated with such people to fit in the group they which to play part of. Does not mean one has to relinquish who one is. They must understand who they are and place in front of them whom they want to be.

    No doubt once in a while, you will find someone who is not willing to give Blacks a chance, but I find the number that think that way has diminish greatly do to the fact that many, in this age, have experience some kind of intentional bias; and I am sure they did not like. High School in America, from my knowledge, has allowed all race to feel unwanted as some point.

    -L-

    1. All the varying points made here are well placed. It all lies to the realization of the problem to then lift off the stereotype of one’s self.

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