Month: December 2016

Identity

You are more than your skin colour, your race, your gender, and your physical attributes.

Recently, I was in a heated discussion with a friend of mine about a few things, one of which was the topic of identity.

He defines ‘identity’ in regards to physical attributes – what you first see in a person.

I disagreed. I define ‘identity’ as the collection of the unique features and characteristics of an individual (in this case) has that sets him or her apart from the rest. (According to some websites online, that might be generally what identity is defined as too.)

I have this thing about identities. The first time I actually spoke about identity was with another friend of mine on the topic of race and skin colour. I couldn’t stand with his point of view that he is only his race and skin colour; I almost couldn’t understand.

I told him – “You are more than your skin colour, your race, your gender, and your physical attributes. You are you.”

You are the person who loves football. You are the person who loves to read. You are the person who is so sweet and charming, and you are the person who gets happy at certain specific things. You are someone who likes to make people laugh. You are you. You are beyond what the world sees at first glance.

You are beyond these physical attributes.

That is what I truly believe.

Of course, our identity also constitutes of our race, sex and physical attributes. But does that define us wholly? Are you only a twenty-year-old Caucasian male? Or a forty-year-old African woman? What is it that makes you truly you?

My friend in this discussion asked me who I am. I told him I am someone who loves this and someone who loves that; I gave him my name. He scoffed, “There are other people with names like yours.” But isn’t that my point too? There is another person who has the same first name as mine, or even the whole name. But what makes her, her, and I, I? Isn’t it our values and our beliefs, actions and inactions, and our likes and dislikes? There will be another person who is of your height and weight, someone who looks similar to you even. An Asian teenage boy and another Asian teenage boy who look similar – but are they the same? No.

Do all Asian men act in the same way, as do all African women? Do all dark-skinned individuals have a similar behaviour, or do all females have a similar attitude? No. There will be ten Caucasians who all act differently, so how can they only be defined by their physical attributes?

It all boils down to individual differences that make us who we are.

It is important, our biological roots, but there comes a point where people have to understand that that alone won’t define our behaviour, our actions, our beliefs, and our identity wholly.

I am proud of my race, my gender and my physical features. But that is not my sole identity. I am a person who is passionate, loud, stubborn, hopeful, loving, emotional, and so much more. I am more than my physical attributes.

Just like you are. Just like he is. Just like she is. Just like they are.

Just like we are.