Identity is an intrinsic idea of one’s life. Whilst there are no certainties, the struggle of identity often happens, and the conflicts may depend on the individual himself. The conflict may occur due to various factors in one’s identities including their sexual orientations, skin colour and religious background. These variables may cause noticeable damages to one’s mentality and psychology, and hence lead the individual to struggle with who they are. Individuals with homosexual preferences often experience conflicts in terms of their identities.
Homosexuality is considered wrong by part of the society because the majority- heterosexual human beings- partially as a result of religious influences over the past centuries due to the mass control the several religious convictions had over the human’s civilisation as a whole, sees homosexuality as breaching the norm of the social order. Homosexual individuals often try to avoid the controversy caused by confessing their sexual preferences, as ignorant people often judge them by being different to the society. In ‘The First Kiss’ written by Lian Low, Lian was a typical example of homosexual individuals struggling with their identities.
She has failed to embrace the fact that she was interested in women instead of men during her teenage years. ‘‘You’re not the L-word, are you? ’ Of course I denied it. ’ She didn’t want her ‘Malaysian Christian friends’ or ‘badminton buddies’ to judge her by her sexuality which caused a conflict throughout her high school life. Lian has been in a conflict between whether she should confess her sexual preference to her loved ones, or just pretending to be interested in men like all her peers. Like Lian, some homosexual individuals may have same issues as Lian faced and struggled in the same way with their character as she did.
Although homosexuality causes a lot of people to struggle with their identity, the damage caused by racism due to diverse skin colours is worse. As a result of historical factors, coloured races are often ignorantly considered inferior to Caucasian people, especially those with white skin throughout the world. Examples such as the 2005 Cronulla riots in Australia, a racial conflict involving Middle East Appearance, show that until today, people with coloured skins are still targets of racism due to bigotry and conservatism.
In the movie ‘Skin’, Sandra Laing has been struggling to figure out whether she was a ‘black’ or ‘white’ throughout her school life which can be shown when she said to her maid, ‘Am I black? ’ Sandra has been discriminated for her skin colour all through her tragic life. From her primary school classmates calling her ‘monkey’, the boy she went for a ‘date’ with saying, ‘you don’t have to feel bad for looking like a coloured person’, finally to her husband Pietrus who said ‘her skin is a curse’.
Sandra’s miserable life was a classic situation of a coloured person in the last century. She has been exploring her identity throughout the entire film including a change of skin colour identification twice, before she finally defined herself as nobody else but her children’s mother. Under the influence of bias opinions over coloured appearance individuals, for instance the apartheid system in South Africa, a vast amount of people are possibly undergoing similar conditions as Sandra, persevering to figure out there true identity.
Besides racism, a personal choice of approach to an event, one’s cultural background can also possibly cause struggle to their identity. As the modern society involves more immigrants changing their nationalities, children in recent generations may have multiple identities in terms of where they are from, and has become a social norm for the new decade. For instance, the Australian-born-Chinese people, also known as ‘ABC’ in general, has developed into a stereotype or even a race over the history of Chinese immigrating into Australia since the gold rush.
However, it is difficult for these immigrant’s offspring to relate to their family’s culture as they may not have had any type of interaction with it. In the short story ‘Sticks and Stones and Such’ written by Sunil Badami, Sunil failed to understand the meaning of his name due to the lack of understanding to the Indian naming culture, was however conscious of his peers not pronouncing his name correctly, which further led him into obstacles of fitting into his friends’ groups and referring himself as ‘Neil’.
These immigrant’s offspring may even find it challenging to answer questions like, ‘where are you from? Using the ‘ABC’s as an example, should they answer Australia, where they have grown up in, or China, where their parents are from? According to a survey done by the Herald Sun in January, 77% of the participants answered ‘I don’t know’. The result has portrayed the difficulty of self-identification by ‘ABC’ racial groups, which also may apply to various societies with similar cultural conditions. Despite the main causes of identity struggling mentioned above, every individual in the human’s society will somehow doubt their identities in their own manner, including you and me.
Let us think back together, have we ever felt left out in a group of people? Did we question ourselves on sporting fields when we had a bad game? Did we ever think why are we even born in this world? The answer is yes. We have all questioned ourselves at some stage throughout our lives. It isn’t something to be ashamed of. By doubting ourselves, we can revise what actions have we done wrong, it is a motivation for ourselves to do better in all areas, with the ultimate goal to not doubt ourselves ever again-noting it isn’t possible.
One’s identity is intrinsic to the individual. Without the desire to explore their own identities, human beings are not very different compared to beasts like monkeys or chimpanzees. Although some particular individuals may experience conflict in their process of discovering their identities, but please note, a perfect elite in all areas only exist in fairy tales. As an ordinary human being like everybody else, I would like to say, ‘please keep on questioning yourself’.