Identity refers to how people define themselves and others and this can include factors such as age, social class, religion and personality (Jenkins, 2008). Identity can also be defined by race, this is particularly important for this study. Racial identity has been described in terms of a biological category (Spikard, 1992) and from a social dimension (Helms, 1995; Spikard, 1992). When described as a biological category race consists of individuals “physical features, gene pools and character qualities” (Spikard, 1992, p.14). Europeans used these features to group people hierarchically by their physical abilities and moral quality and Caucasians were the pinnacle (Chavez & Guido-DiBrito, 1999).
Being a black women and growing up in a predominantly black community I have experienced colorism. As a dark skin female, I have been told that darker women were unattractive and insensitive. Carrying the stereotype that dark skin women are ghetto, loud and unattractive. I have always felt like the light skin females in my community had the upper hand in dating as well as in everyday life situations. My cousin and I would walk into a store and because she is light skin she would be treated differently from me.
While European expansionism has without a doubt left its blemish on nations around the world, colorism is said to originate before contact with Europeans in different Asian nations. There, the possibility that white skin is better than dark skin may get from the decision classes normally having lighter appearances than the worker classes (Gullickson, 2005). While workers got to be sun-tanned as they toiled outside without stopping for even a minute, the advantaged had lighter compositions since they didn't need to work in the sun for quite a long time day by day. In this way, dark skin came to be connected with the lower classes and light skin with the first class. In black America, those with light-skin got employment opportunities beyond reach to darker-skinned African Americans.
1.2 Identity in literature Identity may be considered as the variety of personal and behavioral characteristics that describe one as a member of particular group therefore, individuals can differentiate themselves from other groups of individuals and create their own understanding of who they are depending on race, religion, culture, ethnicity and language (Fearon, 1999). On the other hand, and as a result of the geographical and social movement and the keenness of belonging to a certain social and community, individuals possibly will acquire more than a single culture (ibid). Identity in literature might be the way that is used by the authors to express themselves by presenting a new culture and language after the exile from homeland to another
All these categories are artificial. However secure those may feel, everything is what we were brought up to believe important by society and media. So what is identity? Identity is a concept open for interpretation and therefore, depends on the individual. Many people may try to decipher ‘who you are’ by asking the question “where are you from?” This simple question has become the means for many to categorize and identify someone.
Identity is social construct that many have mistaken for something an individual is born with. There are many aspects of identity that one can inherit like genes that can drive a certain type of character and certain aspects of identity a person can adopt and build for themselves. However the most part of one’s identity is consistent of what the person wants and adopts for themselves and what the society/the people around him/her choose to give him/her. Identity is a said to not remain unchanged once established. It is a fluid concept and is constantly changing.
Finally, human variation is non-concordant. These flaws make the biological basis of the race concept an untenable idea. The first flaw with the biological basis of the race concept is that features attributed to race vary in a clinal fashion rather than being broken into different categories. Perhaps the most iconic feature attributed to race is skin color, but skin color cannot be broken into discrete categories. As “Race the Power of an Illusion” demonstrated in the first episode, skin color variation in humans can be seen as a gradient where the similarity between variations can be determined by geographical distance.
Identity is an expression of a person, and through this expression it makes them different or the same from one another. The way someone expresses himself or herself, whether it is through their religion, preferences, moral, goals, or their ethnicity, make up their identity. People often express themselves through their likes and dislikes. Their preference shapes who they are and whom they associate themselves with. For example, a fan of a particular sports team identifies themselves as a fan of the team, and also can identify other people who are also a fan of the sports team.
They place disability at the core of their identity in order to ‘reclaim the body’ from the models that diminish the value of people with physical disabilities. as a valued concept in identity formation has largely been the result in the shift from the medical to a social discourse on disability[ Peters and Chimedza 2000, pp. 248]. Some individuals (youth with disabilities)assert outright pride in their disability. This can be explained by emulating it with the phrase "black is beautiful".
Our identity is defined as a distinguishing character or personality that make us who we are as individuals. Identity is a very powerful aspect when it comes to our own being. With human injustice, there is a social stigma where we use identities—these dignified aspects—to disapprove a person or group simply due to the fact that they differ from our cultural norm. It is the same feat with the flowers in Les Fleurs Maudites which translates to “The Cursed Flowers”. Themed after “the seven deadly sins”, the garden (Sancovschi) contains historically notorious plants that society has forced negative connotations onto.