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Racial Personality – Indentity

Its unfortunate that people even today are judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character, Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout the free existence of humans, we have continued to question our lifes reason. What is our essence in this world? Who are we? What happens after life? If it is obvious that humans are created with no more worth than the other, then why would we not cherish our freedom of choice? Humanity governs our actions and prevents inhumane proceedings to take place. No one is born with more power than the next baby that is brought into this world.

Sartre doesnt permit the fact that similarities in physical features are drawn to each other. With the freedom of choice of socialization, one chooses selected group do to the value of identity and self knowledge. The concept of respecting and celebrating the heritage one possesses is a commendable process. These ideas form or create the self definition of who a person is. Cultural togetherness is not a bad thing. However, these ideas have negative retributions when acted upon in extreme degrees. This type of separation causes barriers or invisible lines and walls that are rarely crossed by people in our society today.

Differences and diversity should be celebrated as a chance or opportunity to be able to stand out as well as the chance to educate each other about each other. Sartres view on freedom of choice is correct but he fails to include that the act of association through such subjects as race is a choice made to continue the everlasting pursuit of identity. Throughout religion, race, and culture, we seek self-identity to determine our purpose in this world and to be known by others. Religion continues to predetermine our essence in the world and create a sense of self-identity, as its connected to a greater foundation.

Beliefs in religion give opportunity to create a stronger sense of self due to predetermined characteristics of members of the group. In some ways, religion resembles the makings of a cult, using the faith as a division between its members and the common folk outside of the selected group. An example of this is evident in the “Christian Identity. ” This is the name of a religious movement uniting many of the white supremacist groups in the United States. The Identity’s teachers promote racism and sometimes violence. Their roots are deeply embedded in movements such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis.

They consider themselves true Israel and view the Jews as half-devils and arch enemies. They believe all but the white race are inferior creations. Though the Identity’s religious views are outstanding, this is an extreme example of identity through segregation. In a more ordinary view, when religion is used in a material sense, referring to religious establishments, churches, synagogues, mosques, non believers arent as welcomed as the faithful. Here, actual doors separate the members and the foreigners from association with one another. If religion is suppose to predetermine ourselves, then who are we?

Foremost, it is preordained that we are children of God, created in his image, imbued with his spirit, endowed with his gifts, set free by his grace. With this as our given background, we are unable to choose the wrong path. Sartres statement, “Man is condemned to be free,”(Sartre) gives humans the power to be nothing. That power scares people into disagreeing that existence precedes essence. Religion gives people more than what they see. Unfortunately, many people rely on what they see to create their identity. Physical features such as skin color and race are referred to for character.

Race is the simplest way to predetermine our character and to identify one another with. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce refers to Irish nationalism when he says, “When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by these nets. (Joyce) Throughout our existence, nets are flung about us, keeping us separate from others, but in the end we learn to fly using what separates us. To fly we must make an identity for ourselves and to do so, race is sought upon for help.

It seems to me that, too often, a search for some mythic authentic racial personality works as a stepping stone for identity but, inversely, it holds back every race from flight into the open skies of American diversity. Of course there is the constraint of racism also holding us back, but the trick, as Joyce knew, is to turn their race, do to unwanted differences. This is also evident in a movie about real life at a college entitled Higher Learning, one character talks about taking a trip around the world inside the campus quad. A character Omar says, Over there by the fountain, you got Disneyland, all the white folks.

To the left on those benches, you got China town. Over there under the trees, you got south of the border, with all the Mexicans. Then right here you got the black hole, cause we black folks. ” The truly shocking thing is that this phenomenon or behavior is condoned, expected, and almost accepted. Our Identity is so important that we block others from infringing on it. It is true though, it is easier to identify a person if they are in a group, rather than if they are walking around by themselves. It was shone in the movie that the separate groups get their recognition.

Although acknowledgment may be given to a little group, a common mistake made by many is confusing ones racial background with their culture background. Culture is the way that we socially construct ourselves, and can be used to segregate values and commonalities of likes and dislikes. Cultures consist of such “nets” into wings, and thus to fly by them. One cannot do that if one refuses to see that ultimately it is neither external constraint nor expanded opportunity but, rather, an indwelling spirit that makes this flight possible. Examples of purposely racial segregation are evident through living areas.

It may either be by sides of a town, areas of hanging out, or even at college campuses, but there definitely is a cut off of the community between them. Individuals within an ethnic group tend not to want, or are not happy with interaction amongst others outside of ones background and not the color of ones skin, even though it may correlate with physical appearances. When one sees that another is wearing dorky or ghetto cloths, s/he tends not to associate with them. S/he would rather stay within their comfort zone and socialize with people that look the same as them.

This creates a group of the same people, whether they have the same skin color, religion or gender. Those people you know and those you do not offer experiences to may not ever have encountered or even thought of offer culture. The separations in values are connected to our up bringing. Our psyches are shaped by the environment that we are in when we grow up. Our values have been absorbed from the people that we encounter. The longer we are in social contact with a person, the greater their values get interweaved with ours.

Our values are shaped and our universal duties (Kant 333) are established throughout experiences with others. After a while, we tend to lose sight of the options in our lives and we stop wanting change. One starts to get associated with this type of crowd and it becomes a part him/her. Change is a scary thing and nobody that is satisfied with their life wants to change. One goes through change throughout their lives and they rely on their past to adapt to the present. One relies on the past experiences that one has gone through to predict the future actions that need to be taken for an optimal life.

To ease the blow that change affects on someone, one looks for similarities in connection of the past to the present. The easiest similarity that one can perceive from a first impression is the fact that they have their own cultural background that can be seen upon sight. The reason why people act in such a manner in society is because it becomes easier to mesh with someone. One might say that identity is bred through the challenge of diversity. Excellence is bred through competition, while identity is acknowledged through recognition. This recognition helps humans sense their worth.

Kant says, Not self-favour but self esteem should be the principle of our duties toward ourselves, (Kant 333) which indicates that the worth of man must be the means of our actions. It is easiest to label someone through assumed features than the actually qualities that one contains. This is both exercised and accepted to elevate ones image from the common population. Segregation is subjective and should not be present in interactions with other persons. By facing this problem, we grow as human beings, and give meaning and substance to our lives.

Sartre is incorrect that who we are unaffected by our background. Maybe on some higher plane, we dont even exist, but life is affected by what characteristics we have. Our freedom gives us the choice to choose who we associate with and that is why we have that freedom. Association between similar backgrounds, raceetc. should only be looked down upon when it segregates from others. The value of freedom comes with the territory of choice and should not be over placed above or below the value of identity which is sought out with the freedom of choice.

In my view, a personal identity wholly dependent on racial, religious or cultural contingency falls tragically short of its potential because it embraces too parochial a conception of what is possible, and of what is desirable. Every time we fall victim to a separatist action, we see ourselves primarily, through a racial, religious, or cultural lens, while we sacrifice possibilities for the kind of personal development that would ultimately advance our collective interests. Self-identity should be sought out but not expel the opportunity for growth through diversity.

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