Race: A sense of Identity

by B.Matthews on September 12, 2016 - 10:07pm


“Race: A sense of Identity”

What is the true definition of race? Society divides people into groups based on their skin color, whether it’s black, yellow, or white. We all know why society divided people into categories based on their race, and this is because society is still somewhat stuck in the past. We are stuck with this prejudicial idea based on the same reason, why Black people had to sit in the back of the bus. In society, the Caucasian population is still considered to be the majority of the world.  In fact, humans are not diverse, instead they are destructive and they discriminate and isolate against different people of color. From what I learned in my anthropology class, the biological answer of race is easy based on how one may characterize themselves as being a person of color. According to Jared Diamond, if we were to classify human populations into groups based on their fingerprints, most races would be paired into one group. Meaning that no racial group would be classified in their own, this suggests that Caucasians would no longer be considered as the most dominant group. Now that we know the definition of race, we can apply the meaning of what race actually is in society.

Knowing your identity could be a beautiful thing, but it’s frustrating as well because society already has the idea of where you belong. Being a Black Canadian girl with Caribbean descents, I have to say that I have experienced a ton of racism in my life. Based on my personal experiences, I feel that there are still people out there who do not understand that people of color are humans and not just a category. I get to choose who I want to be based on the way I want to live, where my family originates and simply the person I want to be. Many people have told me that “I act white”, but what does that even mean and why do you have the right to tell me how I act? It’s not you who lives my life every day in my skin; in other words, I get to choose how I want to be viewed and what my sense of identity is. Others don’t get to choose my background or my culture, because I am glad to keep all my corky characteristics. In fact, I enjoy waking up in the morning, and knowing that I have surpassed the typical Black standards.


Diamond, J. (2016, Winter). Race Without Color. In A. Nouvet (Ed.), Anthropology 381-101-LA: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism. Saint-Lambert, QC: Champlain.







I absolutely love and agree with the approach you took to this article. Your attitude is the way all people should view who they are and where they come from. People should be proud of the color of their skin and the cultural background they come from, regardless of how other people attempt to categorize or judge them. Although we want to preach that the color of our skin does not define us/we are equal, the color of our skin and where we come from is a huge part of our identity. Of course, we are all equal and it does not separate us, but we should embrace it in my opinion. The color of our skin and ethnic decent has shaped our lives, and our experiences because of it only continues to influence our identity, just like it has shaped who you are and how you view the world. These preconceptions of how people should look and act most of the time disconnect from people’s actual world experiences, causing immense conflict (as discussed in the attached article). People identify with what they identify with because of how they have experienced the world, and no one’s naive false ideals should force them to question it. Race is directly proportional to how we identify with the rest of the world, and it is a beautiful thing just as you said. I would love to have heard some more specific examples about what you have endured, but the way you wrote this article is still extremely relatable. I am so proud of my German culture and family; whether it be something as stupid as a Nazi joke, people’s selfish comments about anyone’s race are more offensive and hurtful than they probably know. I am so grateful to have read your piece! It was amazing. This article gives some incredible insight to the personal experience of another woman struggling with society’s idea of who she is and her own idea of who she is.


I completely agree with what you are saying, and I would like to thank you for this message. I am glad you enjoyed reading my journal and I will for sure add some more examples to my next one talking more about my experiences.

I agree with the points you make in this article and appreciate the approach you took. I think you made a very good point when you said that humans don’t accept diversity, that they are “destructive” and “isolate” people of different groups of people. I like how you brought up the fact that skin color is only one way to identify humans and that if it were something different- like fingerprints- then most races would actually be the same race. I think that like you said having an identity can be good but it becomes a burden when people assume that you fit the “norms” of your race. I agree that everybody should be able to choose what they identify as and how they live, and should not have to act a certain way just because it’s normal for their “race.” Although I haven’t experienced racism in my life, I have friends who experience it nearly every day and I have grown to understand how hard it can be. I think we, as human beings, need to fundamentally change the way we view ourselves and the world. We need to stop trying to label people and let people chose who they want to be.

About the author

I'm Brianne, this is my final semester at Champlain College and I am currently studying social science: education option. On my past time, I enjoy learning musical instruments, and practicing the ones that I currently study.