Who do you identify with? by: Aria Lightfoot

There is a theory which equates race and religion to social identity as opposed to actual race or religious belief system.   It is an interesting phenomenon as people identify themselves with a certain race or religion even though evidence is contrary to the person’s identity.  It may help explain the psyche as to how people function and why people seem to live such duplicitous lives.

I guess I first noticed this in the United States when I was asked to participate in a survey. The survey asked “What race do you closely identify with?”  I chose “African American” as a natural choice based on the limited choices offered. I later received a letter stating that I could not identify myself as an “African American”, unless I was an American.  I wondered “Whe kind a madness this and who cares so much to send a letter”.  It made me realize something else too.  Hispanics were identified by region and not race; which suggests manipulative statistics aimed at diminishing the power of certain races in America.   Whites in America are not subjected to regional identification. Therefore a white person from Europe adds to the population of the white race; however  other races are subjected to division and ultimately does nothing to give a clear picture of the different races that exist in America.  This method is cleverly disguised as a statistic where race and culture for minorities are intertwined and used to further separate races while the white race continues to statistically remain dominant.  I often questioned how a former slave colony that continued slavery almost 50 years after the rest of the world desisted would have such a small numbers of Black people.   Additionally being Black comes with many negative connotations that people prefer to be identified as anything else but Black. Also, by allowing people to self- identify further skews the statistics from the factual to the perceptive.  Interestingly, the 2008 Presidential Elections which gave President Obama and unprecedented win brought to light that there are many black races existing in America under the guise of “other”.  Many interviews identified blacks from the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America who were disallowed from identifying as “African Americans”.

I know, you are asking why the nitpicking at race.  Simply because the word minority already signal lesser, or less empowered and therefore in some people’s mind hopeless.  It is these small indoctrinations of people that have them thinking that their thoughts, words, votes and in some cases lives do not count.  By separating minorities based on culture as opposed to race, and the constant bombardment of media demonizing Blacks further divides whatever power people may have.  People justifying the murder of Trayvon Martin is a perfect example of how such demonizing has become prevalent and acceptable in the American society.  The idea of dividing people into race categories and trying to decipher a common practice is racist in itself. We should be identified as one human race, where individuals are judged based on their individualistic actions and where people rally around each other because we all belong to one human family.  When we die, our bodies will fall apart and our souls will be judged according to our individual actions. Not on your race or religion or how much we were actively part of it.

As it relates to religion, we often hear Christians described as “one day Christians’; “hypocrites” or witness them acting and behaving contrary to their religious belief etc.  There is actually a simple explanation for this behavior.  Many people do not subscribe to their religion based on core belief in their churches’ doctrine; rather, many people belong to religion based on family relationship and social engineering.  It is estimated that 60 percent of Catholics disagree with most teaching of the Catholic Church; however, they continue to go to church based on family or social structures or standing within their society.  It is an amazing observable fact that many conservative members of the GOP stand on Christian principle but support policies that contradicts every teaching of Jesus Christ.

Even in Belize, people from the same families identify themselves differently based on the region of Belize they grew up, the families they marry into and their dominant language.  Some people of the same parents may identify themselves as Creole or Spanish depending on which parent they identify with or complexion they are born with. Belize racial mixing makes identification even more difficult.  Likewise as it relates to church, people can quote every scripture that condemns homosexuality but turn a convenient blind eye to adultery, lying, cheating, murder and every scripture that strongly condemn those practices.  The same people shouting God’s commandments at the top of their lungs are engaging in breaking quite a few them.

So what does that tell us about humans? We are the product of our social engineering. We identify and worship based on societal norms and not on facts or real belief systems. We love and hate each other based on who we identify with. We form judgments and positions based on how we are socialized rather on basis of right or wrong.  People need to wake up and realize that as humans;  we all want to belong;  we all want to be empowered; we are all seeking the same things; and we are all destined to the same end.  Creating categories of separation is as the most limiting and sad part of humanity and further evidence we are victims of a herd mentality.

2 thoughts on “Who do you identify with? by: Aria Lightfoot

  1. The wise man, Solomon, under inspiration, declared: “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” [Proverbs 23:7]. In our own minds, we may be how we perceive ourselves. To the extent that such perceptions fail to line up with actual reality [truth], the ship of our lives runs into various forms and varying degrees of difficulty. If, hopefully and in a timely fashion, we experience the enlightenment of disillusionment, the divine gift of the freedom of choice remains a ‘present’ that can be used to smartly change course and avert disaster.

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