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Identity As Exhibited In Different Communities
Every person engages in their quest for social acceptance. These individuals go to a great length to determine what’s most important as they seek to blend into society’s melting pot. Whether they recognized it or not from the beginning, they embark upon this journey to understand themselves, learn what their communities are amongst their peers then slowly turn the mirror inward for a succinct view of who they are. Some would think that people would learn to accept others in a culturally diverse society but the fact is that there exist people who would not be accepting of others out of fear, ignorance making them judge others in a wrong way. One group hold bias attitudes towards the other based on the differences in gender, race, ethnicity and other social aspects thus creating prejudice against others. There are many factors that people come across in this quest that influence and define them such as race, gender, and community.
First, the main idea of discussion in Staple’s article is the gender stereotype and how it relates to identity among white and black communities. Staple defines common thing experienced by most of the young black men on various occasions during their lifetime. Black men are perceived as criminals due to their skin color and “unwieldy inheritance” as referred by the whites. He explains how he encountered various scenarios where people either ran from him or looked at him suspiciously. “My first victim was a white woman who was in her early twenties; I came upon her one late evening on a street/ she cast back her worried glance” (Staples 143). That shows how black men were wrongly judged. It was his skin color that scared the woman away, but he thought to himself that it was a gender distance that made the woman run from him where she saw him. He felt that his black color offered him the power to alter a space in public. He encountered various scenarios with cab drivers who locked their car's door, women clutching their handbags and police officers who saw his presence as a troublemaker. He had been accustomed to being perceived as a criminal and thus learned on giving people their space to make them not fear him as he walked in the street at night. “Over the years, I learned to smother the rage I felt at so often being taken for a criminal” (Staples 145). He shows how uneasy situation potential to cause danger could be avoided by use of casual behavior and docile such as whistling. Also, in his explanation, he says how his sisters cannot walk at night because they fear men whom they think would hurt them. That shows the masculinity power that women fear even men of their size because they would quickly overpower them which explain that women are weak beings and have no control over male gender. In my view, I would say that Staple missed the point by mistaking fear and stereotyping because walking at night with his hands in the pocket made both men and women perceive him as a thug and rapist. Also, in his statement where he says that it did not matter whether a person was black or white proved that male gender is a threat to women despite their color or race.
Secondly, the main discussion in Tupac and my non-thug life is the new perception of black people as cool and admired by Americans, which evidences how racism has impacts on the identity in the diverse community from Desmond-Harris perspective. She writes of her experience while she was a young high school student who just happened to be biracial. The first time she mentions this fact is when she is faced with the pros and cons. She argues that “Where the discussion of race was avoided as delicately as obesity or mental illness): what it meant to be biracial and on the school’s mostly white cheerleading team instead of the black dance team” (Desmond-Harris 69). The article discusses a Californian lady who was the upset death of a black man who was her favorite rapper. The aimed at creating the new face of blackness from the perception of association with criminals and non-thug life which we find later being referred to as ‘cool’ life, as she puts it, “Blackness became something cool, something to which we had brand-new access” (Desmond-Harris 72). She says that she learned of the death of his favorite celebrity when she arrived at home from school. She was much inspired by the songs sung by Tupac which gave her motivation to move on with life as blacks. “For Thea and I, Tupac songs were the musical score to our transition to high school” (Desmond-Harris 71). The article shows that despite the fact that these ladies had not experienced struggles of violence, racism, and poverty by the black people, which were the main themes in those songs, they still loved the listening to them. Probably, they liked the rhythms without understanding lyrics. They came from wealth society yet they were possessed with the songs about hardship as sang by Tupac thus creating questions in our minds. The songs by Tupac created a new perception of blackness to these ladies and to the entire state where news was turned on after his death from the shooting at Vegas which was made as breaking news (Desmond-Harris 70). In our expectations from the way Blacks were viewed as Criminals, we would expect that such death of black people should be kept under the cover and not announced to the public. Ironically, the death of a black person created a climate of mourning and sorrow in the society of whites which presented a new perception of black people as important despite their color and racial discrimination by the white society. These ladies adopted the lifestyle of blacks which they felt as cool thing to them where she pointed out that “Even though we were two mixed race girls raised by our white moms in a privileged community” (Desmond-Harris 70). She gave an understanding of previously misconstrued identity on the face of blackness before the white society where their previous perception as criminals was replaced with –thug life referring black people as ‘cool.' Desmond-Harris views race as not part of the traits that define the identity of an individual and that whites and black community’s traits were similar.
The article by Munoz seeks to portray a hidden perception of Mexican Americans community and how it relates identity of an individual. It shows the existing prejudice of Mexican, Hispanics and Latinos societies by the Native Americans in the United States. The author had experience with the mispronunciation of his Mexican name which is still a challenge being faced by people today. He used humor by saying that he had no name which made many Americans realize the absurdness in intentionally changing one's name just for fun. Americans had developed hatred towards all immigrants which made them translate their names into English thus creating different names for those immigrants. His quest for writing this article was to make Americans understand that their Mexican names had significance in their identity and thus they deserved respect from them. He wanted them to be allowed those their real names. “Spanish was and is still viewed suspicion” (Muñoz 166). Also, the author says that he was ashamed of speaking his Spanish language in privacy where Americans held the burden over foreign people and harassing them to speak English which is their Native language. The feeling was unwelcoming to the author and to people from diverse groups who did not speak English. Americans could change Mexican pronunciation to their English language to make it easier for them which left Mexicans feeling inferior due to lack of respect for their culture by the natives. These different pronunciations according to the author made them leave their real names at the border where they were given new nicknames. Moreover, the article signifies on how people leave their culture and assimilate a new culture by changing their names in an attempt to feel accepted in the society by adopting English names. The article aims at changing the misunderstanding of Mexican Americans where Natives holds that they are illegal immigrants who belong to lower class. The author is in need of empathy for the hardship experienced by people from his culture.
Identity can be understood in diverse ways based on the gender, race, and community of a given individual. American society is composed of diverse races such as Hispanic, non-Hispanic, and significant races of whites and blacks. Identity has been viewed based on the race of individuals where segregation and separation have kept the natives from getting to know the lifestyle of African American societies thus giving rise to prejudice attitude of African American by the Natives. Moreover, discrimination against women in the society has led to the rise in an identity crisis because of gender differences. The above articles discussed in different ways adopted by significant victims in the attempt to feel accommodated in America. Tupac used his music to present the hardship black people experienced, Spanish immigrants changed their real names into English and Staple used casual behaviors and docile such as whistling to intimidate white people who he met during his night walks in the streets and keep the 'space' between their stereotyping and his true intentions. All those behaviors aimed at making them feel accommodated and understood by the natives.
Desmond-Harris, Jenée. “Tupac and My Non - thug Life.” In Axelrod, Rise B, Charles R. Cooper, and Alison M. Warriner. Reading Critically, Writing Well: A Reader and Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016. pp. 69
Muñoz, Mannuel, “Leave Your Name at the Border,” In Axelrod, Rise B, Charles R. Cooper, and Alison M. Warriner. Reading Critically, Writing Well: A Reader and Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016. pp. 165
Staples, Brent. “Black Men and Public Services,” in Axelrod, Rise B, Charles R. Cooper, and Alison M. Warriner. Reading Critically, Writing Well: A Reader and Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016. pp. 143
- Quote paper
- Trizah Michelle (Author), 2017, Identity As Exhibited In Different Communities, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/383482