“Cultural Identity”

“Cultural Identity” is the focal point of Stuart Hall’s essay “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”. In this essay, Hall examines two different views of  “cultural identity” in the Caribbean. The first view of “cultural identity” in the Caribbean according to Hall, “defines “cultural identity” “in terms of one, shared culture, a sort of collective “one true self,” hiding inside the many other, more superficial or artificially imposed “selves,” which people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common.”. The second view of “cultural identity” in the Caribbean according to Hall, defines “cultural identity”  as “a matter of “becoming” as well as of “being.” It belongs to the future as much as to the past.”. Together these two different views of “cultural identity” give us a better understanding of “the ways in which black people, black experiences, were positioned and subject-ed in the dominant regimes of representation were the effects of a critical exercise of cultural power and normalization.”.

There is also another crucial element needed to further aid our understanding of “cultural identity” in the Caribbean. The citizens of the Caribbean, no matter there ethnic background, must acknowledge and come to terms with the presence of Africa in the Caribbean. Which is something that has been proven hard to do, when the people in control the creation of history, try extremely hard to suppress/deny slavery and its connection to the “cultural identity” of the people of the Caribbean, but also the people living in the United States.

I think “cultural identity” is important not only in the Caribbean, but also, in the United States. Speaking as someone who was born and raised in New York City, the definition of “cultural identity”, holds a different meaning in America. I think that it is just as important for me, a black women whose paternal grandparents were born and raised in Trinidad, to truly understand the meaning of “cultural identity” the way in which Hall discusses. It is important to know and understand your connection to others lands, in order to truly understand the concept of “cultural identity”. As long as America also continues to ignore the presence of Africa in America, the harder it will remain to understand “cultural identity” in America.

On a more pleseant note, the ARC  website is an great representations of “cultural identity” through a selection of works of art. The imagery seen here, are clear representations of the Artist “cultural identity”.

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