An American is colorless but identity isn’t
Raven Symone, star of The Cosby Show and That’s So Raven, made a politically correct statement by telling Oprah that she is tired of labels, doesn’t want to be labeled as gay or African-American and that an American is a colorless person.
“However, Raven is actually saying she hasn’t yet found her identity, isn’t interested in her heritage, and is selectively choosing labels which she believes will benefit her” says Australian Human Behavior Expert Patrick Wanis PhD.
“Nowhere in the world is citizenship determined by color, but our identity goes deeper than our citizenship or nationality. If we are to remove all labels, then we must remove all hyphenations such as Italian-American, Cuban-American, etc., and we can never truly know ourselves until we can identify our heritage or ancestry. Are Jewish Americans still allowed to identify with their heritage? Can people still label themselves as Holocaust survivors, Christians, or mothers, sons or daughters? Can women call themselves women (gender identification) or do they have to refer to themselves as females?”
“Few of us want to be labeled with something that excludes us, divides us, victimizes us or potentially results in discrimination, bigotry or less opportunities. However, that is not equivalent to denying one’s roots, heritage or ancestry. Unless one is afraid or potentially ashamed of their heritage, there is little reason to not seek out one’s families and the richness of their history.”
“Symone says ‘I don’t know where my roots go to…but I do know my roots are in Louisiana.’ Unless her family is Native American, her roots do go beyond Louisiana, the same way that Irish Americans in NY have roots that go beyond NY.”
“If Symone is saying she doesn’t identify with African-Americans, she will still eventually have to find with which group she does identify (a religion, an organization, a community and so forth) since we all need a sense of belonging.”
“Identity is also connected to values, morals, principles, beliefs, interests, goals, dreams, meaning, purpose, culture, skills, talents, abilities and personality. When Symone says she doesn’t want to be labeled, and therefore doesn’t identify with anything, anyone or any group in particular, she is also saying she doesn’t stand for anything and thus, lacks purpose and meaning.”
“We also need to understand that African-American isn’t just a political term; its true definition is the ethnic group whose members are those Americans who descended from the Africans brought and enslaved in the US from 1619 – 1865.”
“Finally, we label others as well as ourselves as a way of understanding, identifying and distinguishing ourselves, and as a way of bonding with people who are similar to us. We can be different and still equal! We cannot fully appreciate what makes someone special if we refuse to acknowledge and appreciate what also makes them different, though of the same nationality.”