I do think the need to have a group identity is a weakness.
There's a biblical illustration of the issue of collectivism vs. individuality...God has Adam build something using stones, whichrepresent individuality. The story of the tower of Babel strikes as contrast when they use bricks, which represent conformity. The interpretation is that God creates individuals, and the world seeks conformity...That's just what comes to my mind when reading your post.
I don't see how these two concepts are exclusive. How do you not identify with the things that made you who you are? How do you not identify with the struggle of being a certain gender, either way it goes? It is impossible for me to say, "I don't identify as a woman" because being a woman is absolutely what has influenced much of my life. If someone asks me, "What makes you who you are?" I probably won't say, "Being a girl" because.. it's such an obvious answer that it doesn't really say much. People assume that's an influencing factor. What I would say is the specifics behind being a girl--whether I was a tomboy, or a girly girl, or whether my father approved of my antics and behaviors, whether my mother set a good example, etc.
I agree that everyone, to some extent, has association to the group-related aspects of their identity, because these are an intrinsic part of what makes you who you are. To what extent they matter to the person will vary - my personal experiences and self form most of my identity - but I don't deny the other parts. People who deny that such things are important to them are deceiving both themselves and others. Such people suffer from a pathology called self hatred. Self hatred can be directed towards any part of your identity; whether it be towards individually unique characteristics, familial ones or wider group (such as ethnicity) ones. All are signs of mental illness, but for political reasons wider group self-hatred is encouraged instead of condemned.
Originally Posted by kyuuei
That's because those things are too obvious. When you're in a foreign country you can quickly sum up an entire concept by saying, "I'm a Texan." People have so many stereotypes about Texas that it's easier to weed out which you are/are not after you rule out the hundreds of other stereotypes out there. You can tell a lot about a person based on their gender, race, and nationality. Not everything, surely.. but even if you rebel against what your country stands for, who you're stereotypically suppose to be attracted to, or don't participate in your race's traditions, you can tell a LOT about a person based on those shallow vague bits of information. You can narrow a lot down.
Probably due to my narcissism, being in a foreign country doesn't really effect how I perceive myself, save the observation that the people around me and their customs are different. Because I am in their country, that doesn't threaten me and I instead find it interesting. I disagree that you can tell much about someone based on their nationality and ethnicity; there are a few assumptions one can make but not that many. I know that simply from being so radically different in my political orientation and musical interests to everyone around me, but fit in in other ways. Though, being different isn't something i relish, quite the contrary.
Originally Posted by kyuuei
Sure. So does judging people that are proud of where they came from. How is it less of an identity, or a less valid identity, to say you're a Texan, proud of it, and do all the stereotypical Texan things you were raised around. How is it not an elitist attitude to say, "I think that people proud of their ethnicity and nationality have weaker, cookie cutter personalities in comparison to my unique identity markers." What do you have going for you that makes your shit better than the very fundamentals that mold everyone that passes through them forever?
It gives one a strong sense of tradition, acceptance, basis, and home. Those are pretty important things and aspects in a person growing up--and they stick with you. It may seem cookie cutter to you, but for many it's what separates them from the crowd. Anywhere I go in the world, people have an idea of what my unique home looks like because of where I came from. No matter where I go, or how odd the traditions are, even if I indulge in them.. I know people at home still understand where I'm coming from.
It isn't a weak, soul-crushing thing to love your home country. Or to embrace racial traditions. Or to enjoy being the gender you are. Infact, I would argue that these identities are stronger if they'd be crushed when they were stripped away. If you can say, "Oh, I'm no longer a guy. Oh well. Oh, I'm no longer considered a Mexican because there is no country of Mexico now. Fancy that..." chances are it wasn't a strong part of who you were at all. But I also think people who THINK they wouldn't be crushed by it are kidding themselves. People don't think they care that much about being something else.. but they don't realize that who they are is based largely on that sort of stuff. I would literally not even be the same person, with any of the same experiences or thought processes, if I changed something as drastic as my gender. If I was no longer a woman, and that ceased to be, it would be completely and utterly destroying to my personality. I'd suddenly be gay--or suddenly attracted to girls. My boyfriend wouldn't ever have been with me. I would have never met my best friend, which was a friendship initially born of attraction. None of it would be.
And I know that because the people who watch the countries they love fall apart have to live with that for the rest of their lives. People are still scared to say what gender they know in their heart they are because of how STRONG that sort of identity is for everyone. The fact that they create so many stereotypes, discriminatory elements, and elite attitudes is part of why they're strong influences in the first place.
I don't know you. Maybe you're one of the rare people who would literally just yawn and change your underwear at the store that day if you woke up magically a different gender. Or if you were suddenly black when you'd been white your whole life. Maybe not a single damn thing would have ever changed on you. But I'll eat my hat when I see that happen.
Having a full identity and being proud of it is incredibly important for self-devalopment. Rejecting all the traditions and ways of your ancestors I will never have respect for - it is irrational, destructive rebellion without purpose and no better to clinging on to them all blindly without scrutiny. Besides, doing so would eliminate the differences between ethnicities that make the world an interesting place. Now I am going to be controversial. To me, "Texan" is not a valid identity, because it has no biological element. Anyone can, potentially, take it on, therefore it isn't unique to any group of individuals. Only a select group of people - if anyone at all - can have any part of my identity, which automatically raises its value. This view will be controversial to Americans, but to persist, an identity must be grounded in biology and hence exclusive. Exclusivity is what makes your identity special on every level.
People assume a lot of things about me when they look at me and hear my voice (they assume i'm English, except, obviously, in England) and then where I tell them where i'm from, blurt out a few stereotypical things about NZ, based on LOTR and the marketing stereotypes done by the government usually. I don't really mind - they are pretty positive impressions.
Wanting to destroy your country's cultural identity, or the racial and ethnic differences between its people and alien ones themselves, are all signs of mental illness and/or social conditioning. If you aren't a member of the nation, it is in your interests to do this, but i am assuming from the tone of your post that this is not the case. Whether you identify strongly with the group parts of your identity or not, they are still parts of who you are and have impacts on others. It would be life-threatningly bad if I lost any of the group-parts of my identity, they are the positives that (at least to some extent) balance out the negatives which are my many individual defects. They give me a chance to at least take some pride in who I am, and some of the best life experiences that I've had (sexual/romantic) would've never occurred.
The importance of identity is underrated. Being landed with a fragmented identity is a sure way to drive someone into depression and despair.
A person who has to resort to insults in a debate is usually defending a weak argument and they feel the need to belittle or dominate the other person rather than exchange ideas or agree to disagree.
Originally Posted by Bullet
Ha! You may want to hit the gym first. You're looking a little flabby these days.
Originally Posted by Kullervo
Having a full identity and being proud of it is incredibly important for self-devalopment. Rejecting all the traditions and ways of your ancestors I will never have respect for - it is irrational, destructive rebellion without purpose and no better to clinging on to them all blindly without scrutiny.
I would generally agree with this. Two sides of the same coin--blindly following and complete rejection.
To me, "Texan" is not a valid identity, because it has no biological element. Anyone can, potentially, take it on, therefore it isn't unique to any group of individuals. Only a select group of people - if anyone at all - can have any part of my identity, which automatically raises its value.
It is controversial, no doubt. And I can get why you'd think that--it isn't like being Japanese, or German, where birthright alone gets you where you are. but I think it's also a part of what makes being a Texan so great. I was born in South Carolina--but I was raised here my whole life. We're not all made up of native Texans, and anyone can put on a cowboy hat and boots--and in fact we encourage that--but we're famous anyways because of that. Cowboys came from and lived all over the US, yet they're particularly famous here. Sure we have a lot of negative aspects that come with the state, everyone does, but overall if you want to be Texan just come be Texan. There are some things that separate us from people who came here of their own accord--we have particular ways of talking and slang language and accents that are unique to the area, and our homes and decor are very particularly.. er.. rustic. But it's a culture one can *become*.. which is a difficult thing to find for most people.
I'm particularly fond of French culture lately in my life, and although I love it--I will always be an outsider for France. I'll never be French, or seen as french, etc. etc. I just wasn't born into that, and nothing I can do will change that. The same story goes for Japanese culture. But.. I can walk in any day of the week and become a Texan and have people accept me for that. It's a great revolving door.
Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
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I am thankful to know, that most of the time when we dislike other people's attitudes it happenes because they resonate to OUR negative feelings hidden inside towards our same kind of negative attitude
The more people I get to know, the more I can see how similar we are - when I manage to put my EGO aside and avoid prejudgements. Everybody wants to be loved, to eat, drink and sleep, which means we ALL have the same most important goals and we are ALL loveable when we do not disguise.
Sociodrama is a great tool to wear others' shoes. When I play another person, I get free of my boundries and can have the real simpathy and love for him / her. It is a mirror for me,paralelly, in which I can see myself with another's eyes and that gives me enlightment.
All people are presents for me who represent my reflections, so I HAVE to love them ALL, even if their mirror is broken or filthy. I have a ray of light, I cannot help to put the light out, it won't loose its brightness anyway. If our communication is fine, our energies will be mixed and multiply so we'll be one for a period of time at least