Complexity of Identity
THE COMPLEXITY OF IDENTITY
By ODETTE FREDERIK TATANGMO MENO ‘21
Volume 1, Issue 2
A simple way to define my identity is that it makes me who I am. For most of my life, my identity has often been a part of three specific categories; Cameroonian, female, and a scholar. I am a born-raised Cameroonian, from a Francophone background. Both of my parents are from the Bamileke tribe; one of the most dominant tribes in Cameroon.
My first language is French but as soon as I turned two years old, I attended a bilingual system of education where I studied in both French and English. Between the ages of 10-18, I was in an Anglo-Saxon system of education. I am the second born in a family of four and the second girl child. Compared to many ideologies that some families adhere to in some African countries, and for me, Cameroon specifically, when it comes to a girl child, my parents have never made us feel less important than my brother.
I am now 22 years old and l am now in the United States of America. For the past three years in the USA, my identity has constantly been redefined and reaffirmed. In Cameroon, my racial identity was never questioned. As a result of the unpleasant realities in the U.S pertaining to race, it has become part of my identity to reaffirm and redefine my Blackness. Another part of my identity I hold at heart is my femininity. I am very passionate about women and everything that has to do with the wellbeing and prosperity of women at a global scale. My gender is female, and my sexuality is heterosexual. These are personal attributes I am gladly rediscovering and embracing these parts of my identity since I have been in the USA.
As much as the term “identity” is commonly used, the content of this word is actually very complex. So many people struggle to find what really suits their personalities without getting backlash for it. I have a few friends who are still not comfortable with their identities because it feels like they are placed in a box. Having all these angles about identity just accentuates the fact that almost everything is socially constructed, and we often act as a result of our socializations. I personally think regardless of what one may identify with, we ought to be responsible and respectful of one another