The Construction of the Invisible Identity: A Method of Social Oppression

Essay by Jason HammesUniversity, Master's January 2005

download word file, 11 pages 5.0

The Construction of the Invisible Identity:

A Method of Social Oppression

[Always have the title at the top of your first page of writing. I also see that you went way over the word count limit. Remember when you do that you take unfair advantage, by about 500 words, of your classmates who stick to the word requirements. One can add many extra supports for an argument with an extra 500 words.]

The question of where individual identity originates is not easily answered. Essentialist theory would argue that "authentic identity" comes from within the individual, that all people possess traits that are a natural part of one's make-up and cannot be changed. Such theory would suggest that each race has its own inherent traits, both physical and behavioral, that are passed on to the individual. In his essay, "Essentialism and the Complexities of Racial Identity," Michael Eric Dyson defines one of the significant considerations of essential theory "that identity is socially and culturally constructed from the raw materials of the individual and social, the private and public, and the domestic and civic.

Racial identity is not exhausted by genetic inheritance."

(Goldberg 223) Influences such as family, social environment, geographic location, and historical circumstances [form ethnicity] are significant factors in the development of the individual identity. Race by itself is not an overriding influence, "although [identity] is undeniably rooted in pigment and physiology, racial identity transcends their boundaries." (224) There is no question that society bears much of the responsibility for how the individual is shaped, as no one lives in a vacuum; people are destined to interact with each other, and by consequence, act upon one another. Such interactions result in responses from the individual. External reactions to social intercourse might suggest how society forces the individual to internalize the...