Ethnic Identity Construction

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic group, Black people Pages: 13 (5152 words) Published: March 11, 2013
The point of this paper is to help the reader grasp the different aspects of human identity construction with regards to ones race and/or ethnicity. This is a topic that is incredibly important to all races of people regardless of economic class or whatever else is seemingly more important. It is quite impossible to go throughout life without forming an idea of who you are or where you have come whether you care to make it a part of your daily life, have no choice or acknowledge it when it is convenient; without that knowledge I find it difficult to fully make the most of life. Through the readings from the semester and class discussions I have come to the conclusion that White ethnics choose to either assert their ethnicities thickly or thinly, or they chose to incorporate it into their lives symbolically. Blacks on the other side of the spectrum lack choice in their racial identity because their race is visible and so it is assigned to them. Asians have both the ability to choose to assert their specific ethnicities but they are racially assigned. The issue with racial and ethnic construction is that it is born of social construction-what others believe of your race to be true. This can make the identity construction process much more difficult depending upon your racial or ethnic background. Regardless, I find this to be an important part of the identity construction journey.

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.

These words were spoken by the infamous French fashion designer, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. In America today, these words could not ring truer in the subject of identity. “Who am I?”, “Where do I come from?” All questions of self reflection which undoubtedly each individual asks themselves on a daily basis. These questions are not elaborate in structure but hold a great deal of weight to them and contain countless answers. White ethnics face the decision of whether or not to include their ethnicities into their identity construction; their racial invisibility gives them the choice to identify. Racial minorities self define differently from those of the white majority-there often is no choice. There are many different facets of identity construction that create the varying formulas with which Black Americans must create their racial identity. The blatant visibility of race for Blacks creates many of the difficulties that they face in the United States varying from the generalized stereotypes, entry into the coveted middle class of America. These are some of the factors that determine whether or not a positive Black identity is being formed. Lastly, Asian Americans, have found themselves in that strange middle ground of identity construction; their struggle is not exactly like that of Black Americans but they are also not easily accepted like the dominant white group. The unique factors that help Asian Americans shape their identity are the same ones that make it difficult for others outside of their race to define them. It is with this unusual combination that Asian Americans have been given the convenient ability to choose to assert their specific ethnicities and to assimilate like white ethnics while still feeling the effects of racial constraint and having their race assigned to them like Black Americans.

White Ethnic Identity Construction
Today we look at the possible ways the white racial group define themselves; how they appear to others of their same race as well as to non-whites and the impact of American societal expectations on the self, ultimately creating a portrait of how white ethnics construct their ethnic identity throughout the generations and the evolution of ethnic value over time. It is all too common to hear an individual say “I don’t care what people think of me” or “Their opinion doesn’t matter,” although that may be their thought process, little do they know that it is the interaction with other human beings that helps form...
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