How do you identify yourself?

Reader: give some thought to the idea that the evolving figure below is what your identity looked like over the course of the past few years or decades. Its not actually yours, but it is digitally representative of mine and the data that i could locate for uploading to Datahub.io. I've identified here, but its not accurate enough. We can't be held to such narrow boxes: The black queer that likes fast cars.

Identity evolution

Identity evolution

So who are we? A make of many minorities? Even as some of our minorities look like  a majority, for instance our gender or race. We actually have more minority in our make-up...  female, male, Zulu, engineer, rocker, jazz head, queer, expat, smoker, drinker, car girl, mechanic, Afro-punk, Southerner, Bostonian, communist sympathizer, capitalist, skinny, fiscal conservative, blond, libertarian, chub chaser, cyclist, ball player, twitter addict, slacker, balding, fashionista, monster, avatar, etc... 

I'm curious how much I could expose about myself in this forum before i grossed everyone out. I'm also sure that if anyone were to write their identity for me, I'd probably be repulsed at some point, even as i might be fascinated to journey down their rabbit hole... There is a such thing as TMI (too much information). Still it is necessary to recognize that everyone has it.

Black Face

Black Face

Contrary to popular speech there is a context to the identity that we live in. some of it is a result of choices that we make, and some of it is a result of how the people within our degrees-of-separation project themselves onto us. Our identities are more dynamic that we think. They are like millions of coins dropping into a still fountain with unknown boundaries. Our personality evolution is what data-scientists would call a "mosaic effect", its where sensitive data points overlap like sexuality and skin tone in the formation of identity. Writers and editors are regularly redefining things, but it should be noted that "blackness" has been defined and what actually proves interesting going forward is the defining of diversity in individuals that belong to the group. Even as we acknowledge that "black is beautiful" or diverse or ambiguous or native or authentic or even ugly, I doubt it could ever fully erased the course image that life's diversity has projected onto us. Black is going to be a lot of things over time, but esteem is derived from acknowledging one's own identity. Knowing thy self is nearly impossible in an instant, but it can be as Socrates meant it: a long established wisdom. So I ask the question: How do you identify yourself, today?

@JFKII
writer, cultural critic, special contributor to 50 Shades of Black

 

Posted on December 18, 2013 and filed under Identity.