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External Forces Influence on Personal Identity

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External Fforces Iinfluence on IIdentity.

According to the Webster dictionary a person's identity is defined as the persistent and continuous unity of the individual, which is attested by consciousness. It is a set of collective aspects and characteristics by which he or she is recognizable as an entity. The effects of outside forces on identity are very common even inevitable. Throughout life, a person's sense of self can become deeply modified by his or her education and training, race, culture, ideologies and so on. A person usually creates a pattern of positive or negative identity depending on which direction he or she chooses to go in life.

Besides the way a person was raised, his culture and traditions, the education and training he or she receives later in life has a significant impact on his developing identity. Education not only shapes the way a person sees himself, but the way others see him. A person's nature and the way he was brought up in life racially and culturally only creates his personality on an inner- self level. His later identity will be a composite of many factors and influences; the people he surrounds himself with. T, the new set of information he becomes exposed to enables him to question things that he would have probably overlooked in the past. Knowledge gives him the confidence to form an opinion for himself, to accept and reject arguments with boldness.

Whenever the subject of race emerges, it is almost impossible to ignore the flow of stereotypes associated with it. For example, Judith Ortiz Cofer, a very educated Latin woman is a victim of many stereotypes associated with her race. When people see her they tend to label her as "hot tamale" meaning a sexual firebrand (93). Another element of American stereotype toward Latin women is that they make good domestics. People quickly portray her as either: a housekeeper, a factory worker or a server of some sort. People do not wait to meet her and get to know her personally; they quickly judge her based on her look, her accent, even her choice of clothes. Expressing her disappointment Cofer stated that: " Since I do not wear my diplomas around my neck for all to see, I to have on occasion been sent to that" kitchen,", where some think I obviously belong." In spite of her education the weight of society prejudices have determine the way people view her, even though her view of herself is totally different. Cofer is on a mission to change all that, she wrote: "My personal goal in my public life is to try to replace the old pervasive stereotypes and myths about Latinas with a much more interesting set of realities"(97). She plans to use her education as a tool to get people's attention on the subject of stereotypes. Cofer by becoming an educated Latin woman has to advocate on behalf of her own people; She has to carry them on her shoulder and speak for the less fortunate. She is a Latina, one who has the ability to bring a change on society's outlook about all Latinas.

The training that a person receives also plays a crucial role in that person's self-perception, also others perception of him; the knowledge necessary to be successful in society, the rules that a person lives by in order to reach goals in life make it difficult sometimes to differentiate self worth and identity. When a person combines his achievement with his personality and self worth, the result can be emotionally traumatic. An example of that is Alex in the television series: "In Ttreatment". Alex, a trained Nnavy pilot sees himself as very intelligent and successful.; He refers to himself as a member of the elite, the "cream of the crop.". He is very proud of



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