How It Feels to Be Colored Me

How It Feels to Be Colored Me

Zora Neale Hurston’s essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” provides an intricate expression of racial identity in America. Race is definitely critical feature since Hurston’s essay focuses on the construct of race and racism. The essay also reveals how Hurston navigates the racist society and how it interacts with her. Hurston defines herself as a unique person who finds race irrelevant to her identity (Hurston 1111). She sees herself as equal to whites irrespective of how other people view her.  Hurston’s sense of self does change externally when she perceived racial difference between the white people and the colored people.

Our identities are shaped by race, location, culture, opportunities, appearance, prejudice, discrimination. When other people view us differently that we do we become aware of this difference and make it a fundamental facet of our identity and individuality. However, this perception is something that may not reflect our true identity, but rather a construct imposed on us by society.  The choice people make matches their preconception of who they are. Identify influences actions as demonstrated in the essay by Hurston who, as unique individual, does not feel colored. Although Hurston does not feel her race, she sells it often when around white people albeit in a positive way. Our identities shape the role we play in everyday life. Our personal identities paint our interests and frame our actions and thought, and by extension the choices and decisions we make in life.

In the essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” Hurston addresses race and racism and the two play into identity. She explores the tension between race and identity by deconstructing old stereotypes based on single aspects of identity. Although she expresses racial and cultural pride, Hurston deconstructs and rejects this categorization of race and considers herself a unique individual who refuses to be defined by a single facet of her identity. Our identities are shaped by race, culture, location and opportunities. Personal identity influences our values, thoughts, actions and choices we make in everyday lives.

Works cited

Hurston, Zora Neale. ‘How It Feels to Be Colored Me’ in The Norton Anthology of American Literature: 1914- 1945 ed. by Julia Reidhead. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012.

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