What defines one as a person is something many people yearn to know and understand in depth. One’s deeds define someone; we define ourselves based on only a tiny portion of our entirety. Place of residence, language, one’s religion, our height, and even what color our eyes are; these simple decisions that people make based on our circumstances is what defines a person. Defining our identity is not an easy task. In this paper, we will be able to discuss more on personal identity and how the community influences one’s identity as a person.
When we look at personal identity, many things come to mind. We all have an idea of whom we are based on other people’s opinions. As stated by (Boeker 62), being able to know what defines us should not be influenced by assessments made by people about us but should be influenced by us. Many things influence our being as a person: our ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, and many more. Hence, by being in a position to understand all this, we will be embarking on the path of individual identity.
Ethnicity defines us as people. Two people of the same race but different ethnicities can exist. An ethnic group, is a group of people that connect with one other because they share qualities that distinguish them from those of other groups. According to (Moran 172), they identify with certain customs, lineage, dialect, heritage, community, culture, nationality, faith, or societal treatment in their neighborhood, to name a few traits. Members of a particular ethnic group have similar values, principles, and standards in issues of mutual interest, and they gather together to complete basic activities with agreed-upon set targets. Persons in groupings are defined as team members by themselves and others; in other words, they are aware that they are a part of a group.
Norms make it easier to understand an individual’s expectations in a particular ethnic group. Norms inform members of the group as to what is required of them, what is permissible and what is not, and help them foresee the actions of their peers and the correct or incorrect implications of their actions. According to (Noonan 92), norms aid in the avoidance of humiliating situations. It is considered essential to follow all the guidelines of one’s ethnic group to the latter to be considered one who abides by the rules of the specific ethnic group.
Race refers to the characteristics that people and groups have in common. The race has many definitions, depending on societal, historical, and physical contexts. As stated by (Tobia 40), peoples’ view of race evolves around; racial grouping was once based on nationality or ethnicity or what people believed in. By distinction, today’s society has been divided into races primarily according to the color of their skin (Tikhonov, et al. 500). Young people, mainly those considered to be among minority groups, appreciate their ethnic and racial backgrounds. Both ethnicity and race influence how societies function
Social forces influence people’s opinions. People adjust their assessments to fit in more with what the group says if they wish to belong to a group or avoid clashing with others. Ethnic identity is a multifaceted notion that encompasses ego or identification, dedication or connection to a group, specific beliefs connected with the group, and a favorable or unfavorable opinion (Tikhonov, et al. 500). Being part of a particular ethnic group, for example, influences how one presents themselves in the society or even how they dress, talk and relate with other people in the society.
When one belongs to a particular group or instead identifies oneself with a specific ethnic group, this influences one’s identity as a person. Connection, survivability and safety, connection status, power and privilege, and accomplishment benefit group membership. Ethnic communities make us feel embraced and respected, but they also make us feel capable. With encouragement and respect, we have a greater sense of control over our life. Human behavior can be improved in group contexts by encouraging performance on easy tasks while suppressing performance on challenging tasks. Since personal efforts cannot be judged, the presence of others might also lead to social loafing.
A sense of belonging is a standard of the living notion that encompasses the belief that individuals matter to one another and to a group. As a result, higher levels of belonging have been linked to improved emotional-cultural functioning. According to (Strayhorn 90), when an individual feels that they belong somewhere or can identify themselves with a specific group, there is a sense of security; one also has high self-esteem and a sense of belonging. Adolescence is when ethnic identity emerges and is carried down through the generations through conventions, customs, dialect, religious practice, and social traditions. The modern press, art, and current affairs all impact our ethnic and racial identities.
When it comes to personal identity, it is evident that ethnic group affects how one presents themselves and how they relate with one another. There are so many benefits of belonging to an ethnic group, showing how identifying with an ethnic group is essential to an individual, proving that the community highly influences one’s identity.
Boeker, Ruth. “Moral Personhood and Personal Identity.” Locke on Persons and Personal Identity, 2021, pp. 54-76.
Moran, Anthony. “Identity, race and ethnicity.” Routledge Handbook of Identity Studies, 2019, pp. 169-184.
Noonan, Harold W. “Identity and personal identity.” Personal Identity, 2019, pp. 84-105.
Strayhorn, Terrell L. “Sense of Belonging and STEM Students of Color in College.” College Students’ Sense of Belonging, 2018, pp. 87-106.
Tikhonov, Aleksandr A., et al. “Bicultural identity harmony and American identity are associated with positive mental health in U.S. racial and ethnic minority immigrants.” Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, vol. 25, no. 4, 2019, pp. 494-504.
Tobia, Kevin P. “Personal Identity, Direction of Change, and Neuroethics.” Neuroethics, vol. 9, no. 1, 2016, pp. 37-43.