Ascribed and Achieved Identity

In capitalism and the social order, people have clearly described roles. Today we are less defined by who we are and more defined with what we do. The focus now is on achieved identity.

The focus is the nature of identity in capitalism. The capitalist media system, has a way of classifying people into different identities.This is done most commonly through advertising, political or otherwise, and television consumption and the system of corporate state production.

Under capitalism today, identity is destabilized. One of the ways of creating identity is education. It creates identities of workers and citizens. Education is also a way of creating your own unique identity and deciding for yourself who you want to be.

The intensification of appropriation within popular culture destabilizes identity. It destabilizes the categories of shared information. Appropriation is shown through various forms of media, such as YouTube, television shows, commercials, which affects the way the audience perceives original meanings and identities for individuals and corporations.

A topic mentioned in class was the destruction of the Black man in America which corresponds to the destruction of the black family unit, which is contrary to what is shown as the ideal family situation in mainstream media. When it comes to this situation I believe there are a variety of corresponding negative factors involved in the dissolution of the Black family unit, and the struggles of the black man. For example: poverty, education, and parental guidance/supervision are all intertwined. If a family is suffering from a lack of all three of these factors there are bound to be a lot of social problems to follow. If you fix the situation of these problems you will fix the “plight of the Black man”. As well as out of curiosity, why wasn’t the “Black women” mentioned? For example if a Black American single mom has children, some male and some female, what is the role of the daughter(s) in this situation? Are they more likely to succeed in the realm of education because of the differentiation of the socialization of education towards gender?

In terms of media identity, in my opinion and from my personal experiences, when young Black children and teens are home alone and unsupervised the common programming of the day to watch is BET. Which I believe doesn’t do much to help in the positive formation of “Black identity”. Especially when it seems to promote mostly gangster culture, which definitely isn’t going to help get these already marginalized youth out of their current situation. Maybe if more programming focused  on a more positive black identity and the pursuing of higher education and in much more numbers, maybe it could have a positive effect on the behaviour of young and disadvantaged black men. But this is just a thought.

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