Arguing with a Sociologist about Identity: Is it self-imposed or external?

I got into an argument w/ a sociologist about identity at a BBQ. Is it self-imposed or external? I argued for the external being more important.

I reminded him of the power of (others in) “labelling” (one) & (once such labelling is accepted) the importance of self-fulfilling prophecy in bowing to external perceptions (both valid and accepted theories).

I said, after what started as bantering and ended in polite arguing bordering on something more, “It doesn’t matter how much I believe my hair is blond” as I grasped my black hair. “Believing it’s blond doesn’t change its color any more than it changes how people see it and react to it”.

Therefore, people will continue to treat me according to what THEY see (along with evoking their preconceptions) and not according to what I believe (and my preconceptions about myself).

Perhaps it would have driven the point further if  I had used skin color instead of hair color in my example, but I don’t need a PhD to identify idiocy when I see it.

I think I proved my point.

Maurice Cepeda

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