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A Western Identity Crisis Essay

934 words - 4 pages

This country was founded by immigrants and is known for its population from a wide array of cultural backgrounds. Living in a westernized society that is so diverse, we are forced to choose an identity for ourselves at one point or another in our lives. Some choose to identify by their outer qualities, while others may identify by their inner qualities. One may identify by their looks, gender, sexuality, political views, or their beliefs. Some may have an identity that is dynamic and ever changing depending on the events faced in life, or some my identify by a single aspect throughout their whole life. Some may even struggle finding an identity due to the countless influence both conscious ...view middle of the document...

Today, I am a 22 year old college student whom is married, and is also a certified nurse assistant and an aspiring doctor. These are just a few factors that shape my life and identity, but were all of these identities really chosen by me, or rather forced upon me by my surrounding culture? According to Saenz, our identities are shaped by our surroundings. He describes a student: “He did not produce himself. He is a product. And the word product here should not be confused with victim. Though we may all occupy different positions in the material world, we are all products of the cumulative discourse around us” (Saenz 71). We are products of our environment, and the course each of us takes in life is dependent on how we allow the discourse to shape us and our beliefs.
Choosing an identity is necessary, and many of us are forced to have more than one identity. We have an identity that we choose, a private identity, and are forced to also have a public identity. Our public identity is shaped by politics and our cultural surroundings. According to Saenz, “the West’s obsession began with Plato and Aristotle and was extended by (among others) Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Heidegger and Marx” (75). This obsession with political identity continues into present day and the West’s obsession has a great impact on our public identity. Our public identity is not one that we may necessarily choose, but rather is forced upon us by others. While some say “we are all the same. We all love, we all hate, we all dream, we all will die. We feel. We all feel” (73). There is so little truth behind such a statement. We are not all the same, not genetically, not psychologically...

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