What Is The Struggle To Discovering Self Identity

1930 Words 8 Pages
Communication Within Cultures: The Struggle to Discovering Self-Identity All people are different due to their culture and life experiences. However, all people experience struggles and face hardships throughout their lives. In this essay I will talk about how not fitting in is a weakness to one’s identity and how one’s language flexibility is a strength. Author Barbara Mellix wrote an article that explained her life and the hardships she encountered within her society; titled “From Outside In”. In her article she explains the struggles she went through being an African-American female who was raised in a black culture, but was expected to adapt to the white community when need be. Whenever she was at home or in a familiar environment she …show more content…
In her fight to reshape herself due to society, she feels that she became somewhat detached from her roots. However, she transformed herself through education, despite her differences. Not everyone can relate to Mellix and the hardships she had to endeavor, as she tried to prove herself in both the black and white communities, but some may relate to Author Flavio Risech’s story, as he exposes his life struggle in his article titled, “Political and Cultural Cross-Dressing: Negotiating a Second Generation Cuban American Identity”. Risech is a homosexual, Cuban-American, male, who struggles with his identity. He was born in Cuba and lived there until his parents fled to Miami when he was 5 years old. When he grew older he decided to visit Cuba in search for his identity. At one point during his stay, he was walking down the street when a boy spoke to him and mistook him for a Russian. Risech became angry and answered back to the boy in his Miami Cuban accent to prove his Cuban ethnicity. Similarly to Mellix, he feels he must prove himself in both the Cuban and American cultures that he is mixed in. He goes to Cuba several times in search for his identity, but like the boy, people look at …show more content…
It is normal to feel out of place in new environments, situations, or around new people. But what about in a place that is normal to you? We find this hits home with Barbara Mellix, as she opens up about when she felt a sense of not-belonging at one time in her life, specifically, when she went back to school. Mellix states, “My concern was to use “appropriate” language, to sound as if I belonged in a college classroom. But I felt separate from the language—as if it did not and could not belong to me. I couldn’t think and feel genuinely in that language, couldn’t make it express what I thought and felt…” (391). Here she explains how she felt pressured to use college classroom language, especially due to her ethnicity. Coming from an African-American background that was raised to speak fluent black English, to a college level writing course is intimidating. It requires appropriate and professional language that Mellix is only somewhat familiar with. This frightens her, as she feels she must prove herself worthy to be in the classroom, and that if she did not use such language, she did not deserve to be there. While trying to blend in, her identity was also being tested. The switching back and forth from black to white culture effects her identity in a way that brings her to question which culture she truly belongs to. The pressure of using the correct language and of fitting in made

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