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american racism

In Nathan McCalls Makes Me Wanna Holler, he describes the difficulties he must face as a young black boy experiencing the slow, never-ending process of the integration of blacks and whites. Through this process, his autobiography serves as an excellent example of my theory on the formation and definition of racial identity; a theory which is based upon a combination of the claims which Stuart Hall and George Lipsitz present in their essays regarding racial identity. Therefore the definition I have concocted is one in which racial identity consists of an unstable historical process through which one comes to know themselves in relation to an outside group. In this paper I will present Hall and Lipsitzs arguments, describing how they confirm and support one another, leading to my theory concerning racial identity. I will then show how this theory is clearly exemplified in the story of McCalls childhood. In Stuart Halls Ethnicity: Identity and Difference, he claims that identity is a volatile social process through which one comes to see the self. Hall argues that identity is not a thing rather a process that happens over time, that is never absolutely stable, that is subject to the play of history, and the play of difference. (Hall 10) These factors are constantly entering the individual in a never-ending cycle, re-establishing and affirming who one is.The play of difference contributes to this cycle through what Hall identifies as the Other, an outside group used for differentiation. He claims that only when there is an Other can you know who you are. The Other serves to provide a comparison in order to discover that which one is not; this is differentiation. Identity does not solely rely on the social differentiation of the self identity is mutually constructed. It does not exist without the dialogic relationship to the Other.(Hall, 11) That is, ones personal narrative of the self must also come into play, relating identit...

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