Monday, May 11, 2009

A Lack of the Looking Glass Self

Dear Bloggers,

This week’s topic is about self-perception. The theory that my blog has its basis on is Dubois’ “Looking Glass Self” theory. This theory dictates that minorities tend to behave in the way that they are perceived; however, in my life, I realized that this theory is not just limited to minorities. I believe that all people have this sense of self-perception and behave in a manner that reinforces how society sees them. Some people have more freedom than others, while some (like myself) are too knowledgeable of how they’re viewed and is constantly nervous of how they are being perceived.

About a month ago I arrived back from visiting a friend in Chicago. I got off the bus, and walked over to the train to head back to my home town. While waiting on the platform a group of Black teenagers walked onto the same platform. Wearing their school uniforms, they began chasing and hitting one another. They were screaming, throwing “Sour Patch Kids” candies at each other, and the boys were hitting the girls in their faces while the girls giggled with excitement.

Besides the rambunctious teenagers, I was the only other Black on the platform. People of other races were looking petrified of all the action, while I just stood there looking annoyed. It seemed as though the teenagers were purposely trying to scare some of the people. They yelled things about how the town was named most dangerous city a year ago, and purposely hit viewers with their candy. The teenagers never approached me, and never got too close into my own personal bubble.

Their train came, and they continued their shenanigans while riding North Bound. The others on the platform looked relieved that they were gone, but still looked cautiously my way as if I was a ticking time bomb of ignorance waiting to happen. An adorable White family, wearing their Cardinal garb waited patiently for our South Bound train to arrive. Their cute son with his bowl hair cut still looked afraid and stared at me. He then looked at his father and said: “Daddy, do they ALL act like that?” The father nervously looked in my direction, and promptly escorted his family to the opposite end of the platform from where I was. The son kept looking in my direction, scared and nervous, while my frustration level grew.

I wasn’t frustrated with the little boy, or his squeamish family, or the other people on the platform. I was angry with my race. An endless stream of questions ran through my head that I still try to answer them on a daily basis. Is this REALLY how we’re portraying ourselves to others? Why is it considered BLACK to behave ignorantly? Is this some people’s normal behavior; or do they only behave in such a manner because they believe they are expected to?

This week, we’ll discuss this on not only a minority basis, but on a Caucasian basis as well. Is there a privilege that comes with knowing that your skin color makes you less culpable of things in society?

This week, let’s discuss!!


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