WE’RE ALL SOMETHING: HOW MUCH DOES ETHNICITY MATTER

 

People Holding Red and Green Striped Flaglets Up High

“Does it really matter.”


my identity

In a society like America where the population is so diverse, we all live in this country comprising of different ethnic groups. You would think a place that consist of so many different people we would understand different cultures and get along. Only problem is that the bulk of the diversity is in about five cities of the 19,000 plus cities and towns in America. So when you look at the landscape of the country, it is no wonder why we still have issues that existed decades ago. But the real question I want to ask is how important is identity really? Because as much as we say I like everybody, how much do we really stand by that statement? It is one of those things we say, but for the most part we don’t live by it.

strength in numbers

People are always in a position to feel like they are being oppressed for whatever reason that appeals to them. So when this happens, there is a sense of comfort knowing there are people there that look like you that will stand next to you. And with that comes this sense of pride that you don’t understand unless you have a group to stand with you. But with that, you can easily fall into this space where that same feeling becomes addictive. And now with those numbers, you can get a lot accomplished that can easily be counterproductive to your cause.

this is still america

We live in America, and a lot has changed. But we must still understand that in this country still, a lot of people aren’t happy with others life choices. And when that exist you are placed in a position in this country to either live your life as you choose. Or the other option is to play by the rules and stay single until you meet someone from your culture. Whatever you may choose realize the country where you live. And that it can be the defining choice that puts you in good or bad standings in society.


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SHARE THE WEALTH: SHOULD WE SHARE EACH OTHERS CULTURE

Photo of Woman Portrait Wall Art

“Appropriation or credit?”


we the people

As a citizen living in the United States, you always hear the term “cultural appropriation.” And I understand the ramifications connected to the appropriation of ones culture. And the reality of it all is this, should we share each others culture. Because in America, where so many different groups reside, should we be living as a whole in one nation yet still separated in the same space? Especially if you live in a major hub like I do in New York City. How do you not try to connect on some level to the different groups around you? But how do others within groups feel themselves about sharing what they have with the world? Because the idea of culture is strong, but segregation is archaic considering you’re putting a distance between the species.

for the love of it

We all might have a shared love interest for something and that strengthens the culture. Typically this form of culture is music, movies, and dance. This is something that is engraved in the identity of this country. People from around the world have an affinity for American culture because of the diverse nature of our entertainment. Everywhere in the world the entertainment is very centric to what is in the group’s culture that reside in that country. We have so many different people with so many different stories, you don’t have to worry about the same story being told over and over. And we are more than welcoming to allow people to explore the American cultural landscape. But it starts to get into some grey areas the moment you get into ethnic and religious practices. Well, I will say, more so with ethnicity than religion.

adoption is illegal

If you come a group of people who have had their history lost or stolen, then you typically are quite protective of that culture. And whoever comes in, you are critical as to why they are coming into the culture. And what happens when someone adopts something, then write it off as their own? What happens if the group is so small they don’t have a big enough voice to fight back. Then their identity is lost or becomes a trend. And cultures have taken at times thousands of years to be eradicated in a quick stint. For example, people think of the Swastika as a Nazi symbol, when in reality it is a strong Indian symbol. It was created for hate, yet adopted and now has the connotation of genocide.


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IDENTITY: THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG CULTURAL IDENTITY

“A name, a religion, an identity.”


 so so important

In a world where social and political strife has been erupting lately, what is the significance of having an identity on a ethnic level mean to you? Because I can speak for my myself coming from a family who were descendant of slaves, there is no real strong culture like a lot of families globally. Meaning we don’t have an official language, religion, country, or namesake.

actor, adult, ancient

And the problem with not having an identity of your own, and having someone else dictate your identity, is that you seek validation from that group. And then when that group shows the slightest bit of disinterest there is this fight to be had. It’s why you must define yourself, and not look to other groups to do it for you.

the fear that is identity

Why would there be fear connected to the identity of another person? Well, the reason why fear exist is because you seek to control a group of people. How do you control people who have their own cultural identifier. Little you say or do matters to them as a people. But when you are able to manipulate and control, that group needs you.

And the reason why you may seek to control is because there is a supremacy factor. Supremacy lies in the ability to feel better than another group of people. But also you need another group to show why you’re not in your supreme position so you can have a reason to continue to hate and look to self as the reason you’re not successful.

shifts and changes

As time progress, will we see cultures collapse, and due to war and conquest. But we may see the decline to the introduction of more and more technology. The cultures of the past that have held groups together has gone from one of isolation to one of inclusion. We are becoming more and more a one world place to live.

But can that last forever (togetherness), since we as people have a hard time coexisting for too long. There always going to be someone who wants a little more than someone else. Someone working harder or going to be smarter. And that advantage will bring us together, but will also give rise to new wars and separation. Man loves having an advantage, and with that comes power, and with power comes abuse. So thinking we will be this one world place in the future is farfetched, which is why cultural identity is important.


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BLACK EXPECTATIONS: HOW LOW STANDARDS FOR BLACK MEN HAVE MADE ME PUSH BACK HARD

Analog watch, businessman, casual

“You’re supposed to fail!”


As a Black male in society, I have noticed something since I was a young boy. And that is that we are not only expected to fail, but almost encouraged to fail. And what it has done to me was turn me into an overachiever. Some might say, what is wrong with overachieving in society; well a lot. If you spend your time trying to be the best in your career pursuits, then where is the time for you to enjoy life around you. So what I have done in my 30 years so far on this Earth is utilize my time for not being what I am expected to be. Which is a baby daddy, I have no children; a criminal, I have no arrest record; a woman beater, I have never been in a relationship. What you’l wind-up doing is taking the odds against you to the extreme.

Well, if all is true, then what should be done by us as Black males. Should we disregard the stereotypes and live our lives? Or should we continue to forge ahead and fight for greatness. What’s scary is that once you die as a person, the only one that remembers you on a constant basis are those that love you most. People talk from time to time about the great things you have done, but does it matter. Does how much I work to combat stereotypes actually mean anything? Because what if 100 years from now, there is no disdain toward Black men, and what I have been living is something of the past? That would mean I gave up so much of my life for nothing. Instead, I could have been partying and enjoying every step of the way. But what about the flip side of things.

What if I continue on my path, and in time I do something great. Something so great that it completely alters the course of history forever. For example, what if Martin Luther King Jr. chose to be an academic instead of a Civil Rights leader. He might be some retired elderly man right now, still living in Atlanta, Georgia. Or what if Joan of Arc or William Wallace never stood up for what they believed; how would life have changed? So, in the end, there is something to me working and not enjoying in life. Maybe there is something that is indicative in me as a Black male that needs to be in society instead of out partying. I’m not saying that I am better or more special than the rest, but the ideas for society that I have make me realize that I am not supposed to fail. I am here for a reason, and that is to pass my gifts on to the world.


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LETTING GO: HARDSHIPS OF PUSHING CHILDREN INTO THE WORLD

Image result for PARENTS DROP OFF COLLEGE

“They’re not going to be young forever.”


When growing up, parents are very protective of their young. Understandably so because it’s your job to protect them. But at some point in time that parent has to let go and let their child have their own lives. And this is generally the hardest job that any parent has to do is let go. Eventually, that kid grows up, and goes into the world to start their own lives. They must have their own identity and embark on their own career endeavors. But why, why must parents really need to let go of their child/ children? Just saying they need their own lives is not good enough.

I heard Denzel Washington make a statement regarding having a hard time letting go of his son. His son was heading east to college from California. And he told an interesting story of why he had to let go. He was flying a private jet when the pilots had to drop some fuel from the plane to increase the altitude in flight. Denzel stated that is how he had to look at parenting like flying in that plane. If he didn’t release his son the he couldn’t have flown to the heights he wanted to fly. And that is a strong reason why parents have to let go. But so many parents have the hardest time letting go. Their children have been their lives for so long it becomes tough to let go.

But the moral of the story from Denzel is that how will your kids be prepared to take on the world if you keep them so close. They need to step out into the world. Try things, fail, and then work to come back and succeed. You can’t protect them forever otherwise they won’t grow. You’ll do nothing more but create an environment of codependency. And trust and believe, no one else is going to allow them to live off of them without stepping into the world. You stunt their development and actually make them fearful of walking into the world themselves. You have held on so long, they are terrified that maybe you held on because they can’t succeed without you.

Another reason why parents find it so hard to push children into the world is also because this may be the last child to leave the house. When having children, the first you get emotional and last you get emotional. Because the first is that oldest to come into the world. And the last kid is confirmation that no more children are in the house. So now you have to get used to making decisions based around you and your best interest. No more coming home and making sure everything is right on the home front. Get used to coming home and not hearing any noise, just silence.

And in the end, that is the toughest adjustment a parent must make in life. Getting used to adjusting to life with no one there unless you’re married. You now have to learn how to go back to life when there weren’t kids around. And that for a lot of people is hard to get used to. So parents find themselves contacting their children in college asking what are they doing. It may seem overbearing to the kid, but to the parent it is completely normal. Yet, the kid has to go off and carve out their own identity, their own plans, their own futures.


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BE AMERICAN; REALLY! WHY EXPRESSING ETHNIC PRIDE IS THE REAL AMERICA

United States of America Flag

“We are not everyone else, we are us.”


In the United States, we always tell people to stop qualifying themselves by these different ethnic groups. But in my opinion, we are this country because of our ambiguous racial makeup. We say stuff like, “Drop that you’re from wherever crap, you’re American.” But just observe the history of America. We are strong as a country because we have the best of the different parts of the world. Name another country where you have so many different countries that makeup an entire nation like us. And the fact that we live in this country harmoniously says a lot about our nation. And what do I mean by racial ambiguity?

Look at a city like New York for example. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there was an immigration wave from various parts of the globe. People flocked into Ellis Island from Italy, Sicily, Poland, Ireland, and various bother parts of Europe. People who worked to build this city, and soon after other groups flocked to New York. The Puerto Ricans, Dominicans after, and African Americans from the south flocked to the Northeast. Everyone brought with them something from their group that was great. It’s what contributes to the flavor of New York City. Now what about other parts of the United States? In Chicago, on St. Patricks Day, the Irish dye the river green.

It’s because of the previous passage that we are a great nation. If we tried being like everyone else, it would hurt this country. Why because of our ambiguity ethnically. Meaning, most countries have one religion, one ethnic group, and one language. We have one language, but many dialects, a major religion, but many sects of it, and many different ethnic groups. So being American is not like being China, India, Russia, France, or Nigeria. But we have each of these places in America. And each place has people from them that has contributed something significant to America. Which is why I want people to take pride in who they are as a group. Having a pride in yourself and where you come from is important in building ones’ self-esteem, self-respect, and confidence.

In the end, having an American identity is showing your love for your culture. I think when people hear ethnic identity, they automatically think racial segregation or hate for someone else. And that’s not true, you can take pride in your identity and also respect other people in the process.


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UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME: FEELING BEAUTIFUL IN A BLACK BODY

Image result for black and beautiful

“Have your pigment ever made you feel less than?”


As a Black male growing up in the United States my mother taught me at young the uphill battle of dealing with a certain demographic of people. A certain demographic that might not like simply because the color of my skin. But what is not talked about as much is the lack of representation in me being seen as an exceptionable image of affection. Not just Black men, but also Black women as well. The images I saw of Black men and women were either overly sexual, or shown from a space of shame and unattractive physical appearance.  But who makes those decisions regarding on what’s beautiful in our society?

Well, since I was young the fashion industry was strong in promoting the image of that beauty to society. An image that has effected more women than men. The body type is expected to me lean and thin, while the woman is supposed to be tall with symmetrical facial features. The ethnicity of the woman is typically a White girl, 18 – 25 years of age. This image effects so many girls, excluding even more Black women, then it leaves Black women to look to other images. It’s why Essence, Jet, and Ebony have been so pivotal in the Black community.

So how has this effected me, or others that look like me? In reality, it has not done much to effect in how I see myself. But I have seen the effects on the attitudes of Black women in society. Verbal comments regarding any other woman’s appearance that is easily dismissed is elevated when directed toward Black women. So who’s to blame? Should it be the job of an industry or should it come from the people who are effected? Me personally, I have my own view on this topic.

As much as we want to blame fashion and entertainment, I don’t see these mediums changing anytime soon. So to say this is the reason only, then a group of people are in trouble. It has to come from the person/people because who are effected. Because I don’t think the people you want to care actually cares. So you have no choice but to take back your identity. If not you’re going to have a generation of males and females who lack self-esteem. Especially if you’re looking for other ethnic groups to validate your physical. To me, in the end, it has to come from you as the person. No one is going to care because it doesn’t effect them. So what happens in positions of duress; adjust? Adjust, and carve out your own identity.


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