Who are you?
most people call me plez, i've even been called plezure! those who are linguistically challenged, are afflicted with mild speech impediments, or are hard of hearing will call me anything from pledge to fred to thez to clarence (i never quite understood the last one)!
What are you?
to make things easier on everyone, i just say that i'm black. some say african-american, but i'm not a hyphenated type. i am also a husband, a father, a son, a brother (in more ways than one), an uncle, a lover (not a fighter), a pragmatist, an occassional elitist, a worker, a producer, a rabble rouser, and a hell of an engineer!
What is your primary identity?
i don't know. the times that i can actually look at myself in the mirror, i just see me looking back. but i can't say that i strongly identify politically, religiously, ideologically, or any other -ly that i can think of.
What ethnic, racial, nation-state do you identify with?
i am a black american.
Or do you identify with none at all?
asked and answered.
How did you learn who you are/how to categorize yourself?
i hate to label myself, but will not bat an eye to label someone else! i was shaped and morphed by my environment - in total. and since i've had various environments and influences, and since i was shaped (in part) by all of them, it is very difficult for me to categorize myself. i was born and raised in New York, but have spent the greater part of the last 30 years in the south (Virginia and Georgia). most of my close friends and relatives are black, but i've also had a fair number of white, asian, hispanic (and other) influences in school and work. i was "raised in" the Baptist Church, but of late, i've been more strongly influenced by the spiritual rather than what was manufactured for the Bible.
How does having/maintaining an identity detract/support one being their authentic self?
being a Black American, or i should say, trying to be a successful Black in America, one has to be able to quickly and effortlessly switch between life in the Black community and existence in the mainstream community. i would be the first to say that i've probably lost a great deal of myself while constantly switching between the two. am i the self-loving Black man or the consummate corporate cog? i am realistic enough about myself to know that you cannot be both!
When we confront people as labels or categories, how does that affect our ability to see them for who they are?
unfortunately, we label people to make it easier to deal with them in that environment. until you get to know someone outside of the environment that spawned their label, you will probably never get to know them or see them for who/what they really are. think of interactions with co-workers, your boss, or other students at your school; you only know those people from your interactions in that environment. you will probably see them in a totally different light, if you were to move the interaction to another environment.
Is having a simplistic, hand-me-down identity a form of ’security,’ and a strength or an ‘escape’ from the anxiety of growing into something beyond the flowerbox you were planted in? Or both?
you gain 'security' in being able to quickly label someone; you can quickly place the "proper" barriers around your interaction with them (this is where prejudice comes from). it is the fear of the unknown that keeps us from growing (or venturing) outside of our flowerbox.
Do you ever ask yourself who and what you are, who and what you are supposed to be and whether you are being your truest self?
nope! i'm sure the answer would scare the HELL outta me! *smile*
Krishnamurti says that the drawing of lines, of distinctions in one’s mind has and does create all of the conflict, all of the war on the planet. What say you?
if that was what Krishnamurti really said, then i agree with him/her! think of our Civil War, think of WWI & WWII, think of why we are in Iraq, think of all of the strife in the Middle East and Israel. we all have drawn the proverbial "lines in the sand" about what we think of those other "labels" AND what we will do to them if/when they cross our line.
plez sez: I welcome your responses, as well.