Shaping Identity Essay

1704 Words7 Pages
Identity is influenced by many factors, with some more obvious then others. Gender and ethnicity are the most obvious traits to recognize, which leads other contributing factors to be overlooked, for example, culture. Culture plays a large role in each person’s identity but because it cannot be seen when just looking at an individual it goes unnoticed. There are two essays that demonstrate the influence and role culture has on identity; “Dude Looks like a Lady” by Kathy Wilson, and “F-Word” by Firoozh Dumas. The cultural influence a person is surrounded by plays a large role in the development of their identity. Culture is the combination of values, beliefs, and practices of a particular group. The culture each person lives in shows them how to dress, talk, act, acceptable behavior, and gives a guideline of what is considered acceptable and normal. As a child grows up in a particular culture they absorb the beliefs, and practices, then begin to use them in everyday activities. This process is known as acculturation. Remix, by Catherine G. Latterell, touches on the idea of acculturation. According to Latterell acculturation is “the process by which we absorb the practices, attitudes, and beliefs of particular social groups” (10). The culture a person is surrounded by will then play a role in the development of their identity. Identity is essentially a set a characteristics and traits that are attributed to one specific person. Identities are specific and unique for each person. Because identity is different from one person to the next, there is the chance that the society a person exists in will not be fully accepting. Latterell states “the social and cultural forces that help shape our sense of identity are not neutral. Instead, they operate like a powerful lens through which we make judgments about ourselves and others” (10). The culture may pass judgment,
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