I'm a big, white, balding male with glasses who was born in the Netherlands, but what does that say about me as an individual or what I stand for? I can tell you how Dutch culture has influenced me, and how the educational system in the Netherlands has helped me to "escape" from religion, but that doesn't make me feel "Dutch", whatever that means.
When I was younger, the fact that I wore glasses was more of an issue then it is nowadays. When I was younger kids teased me with my glasses, nowadays nobody seems to care one bit. The same is true for my lack of hair, it used to be an issue to me as people made fun about it, but like with the glasses nowadays I do not care about it at all and neither do other people seem to care.
This makes me think that this could somehow be an explanation for some of the things that I find a bit odd when people describe themselves. I know a lot of people that say that their national or racial identity is very important to their personality and individuality. This made me wonder, is it really important by itself or does this importance only exists because of the oppression of these groups?
White supremacists for instance seem to be so incredibly proud of being white, while simultaneously believing that their race is under attack. I know some guys from Suriname that are incredibly deep into black pride while also believing that their race is oppressed.
This makes me wonder, does society act like a mirror by reflecting to us the way in which other people see us, and do we start to identify with the picture that society projects on us? If society sees you first and foremost as a black/hispanic/asian person, does this mean that your "race" becomes a part of how you define your identity?
I don't know for certain, but it does make me wonder, probably enough to keep me awake tonight.