Skin - We Can Only Understand Our Identity Once We Acknowledge Our Past.

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One’s identity is who or what a person is and how they are perceived by themselves and others. Your identity defines who you are and where you fit in. It is a self-representation of your interests, relationship, social activity and much more. Some believe our sense of identity and belonging is shaped by various factors, including our experiences, relationships, and our environments. Conversely, others believe that personality is shaped by nature, and that one is defined by their biological characteristics and hereditary traits passed down from previous generations. Nevertheless a combination of both nature and nurture shapes us throughout life. For a majority of the population their journey to find their identity and belonging can often be a struggle due to many reasons. The issue of identity and belonging has captivated humans for many generations, and will remain a key turning point for many to come. We can only truly accept ourselves by acknowledging both of the contributing factors which define who we are.

Everything and everyone can influence a person’s identity and belonging, but none more so than one’s parents and family. While some influences can be major and largely defining, others can be small and go un-noticed for years. Unfortunately, Sandra Laing, featured in Anthony Fabian’s biographical film ‘Skin’ was born as coloured in appearance to white Afrikaans parents, during the Apartheid ruling of South Africa. The influences from her family, predominately Sandra’s father, drastically affected Sandra’s way of life and her decision making which vastly changed her position in society. However, the main influence from Sandra’s family was the colour of her skin. This is something that nobody can control but a factor that Sandra had to live and deal with, which proved a near impossible task when she was young. The Laing family was pivotal in Sandra’s identity and with the influences from her mother and father but the genes they passed on from previous...
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