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Kerkian 1 Arami Kerkian Ryan Dessler ENC 1101-068 October 27, 2008 Identities on a Global, National, and Individual

Level In his essay Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights Kenji Yoshino argues and compares the concept that the true self cannot exist without the false self and therefore these identities must embrace each other. Pulitzer Prize finalist Leslie Savan in her essay Whats Black, Then White, and Said All Over? discusses black talk and the use of covert prestige. Just as Yoshinos true self and false self must coexist so must Savans false covert prestige that manipulates the media and the true black vernacular language. When these separate identities collide or avoid each other, social problems that force us to create a true self persist. Kwame Anthony Appiah, a Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy, explores the ownership of cultural art and artifacts in his essay Whose Culture Is It Anyway? as he determines the downfall of separating art into separate cultures. All of these social issues consist of false realities that lead society to believe there is a necessity in embracing separate identities. This belief leads to false identities, social ignorance and

Kerkian 2 cultural irrelevance. A false identity gives an individual the feeling of being unreal. According to Yoshino, The object-relations theorist D.W. Winnicott makes a distinction between a True Self and a False self that usually tracks the distinction between the uncovered and covered selves (247). Yoshino notes the concept that the true self cannot exist without the false self and therefore these identities must embrace each other. The importance of these identities embracing each other is they will persist to coexist. The false selfs positive function is to cover the true self. The false self must embrace the true self because it protects the true self. The true self can only exist once the false self has made sure the true self will be socially acceptable and safe. The collision between your false self and the true self causes a self-inner identity battle. However, the false self and true self must work together to create a peaceful coexistence. Covert prestige has the same effectwhat the media portrays language and slang to be saying through advertisements versus the reality behind the slang and the truth behind race. The two must be keep separate but they coexist. Social ignorance also plays a role in defining separate identities. Savan explains, Whites talking black is part of an

Kerkian 3 apparently universal phenomenon that sociolinguists call covert prestige (197). Just as Yoshino believes people are forced to cover through the mainstream and society and unwillingly create false selves, the media uses covert prestige to manipulate peoples view or image so they feel forced to maintain a false self. If the average white man who was targeted for certain advertisements that embrace covert prestige such as Budlights Whaazzzaahhh?! did not use the black vernacular or openly chose not to drink Budlight because of the racially derived slogan, racism would persist (202). However, the borrowing of black broken English in order to sell beer and the manipulated portrayal that black talk is cool only maintains a covered or hidden racism. When America increased its consumption of Anheuser-Busch to 2.4 million barrels, it created a false self that reads they are equal with black society since they utilize and promote its prominence in the media (201). Savan states, Pouring on the covert prestige, it flattered white guys by telling them they shared the cool attitude of the black men though, whew, they didnt have to live as black men. Drink Bud and get in touch with your inner black guy (202). The true self, however, is that these white viewers would most likely never want to live the life of a black man.

Kerkian 4 Moreover, cultural irrelevance further divides identities. Appiah believes that certain countries create a false perception of their country by portraying the art they want to represent their people, even if it is not necessarily from that country. If countries did not do this they could not maintain nationalism or a form of culture similar to the fact that Yoshinos covering must persist in order to protect the individual from criticisms from the mainstream. Just as Yoshino has covering and Savan has covert prestige, Appiah argues cultural patrimony, to explain how society maintains separate identities. He notes, cultural property must be regarded as the property of its culture. If you belong to that culture, such work is, in the suggestive shorthand, your cultural patrimony. If not, not (3). Cultures must keep their property separate from others to maintain its own national identity. A particular problem with embracing art work as belonging to specific cultures and countries is that it leads us to believe that art does not belong to all of mankind which is the actual reality. It causes fighting and legal binding bickering between countrys cultures that should be appreciating the beauty of art rather than causing issues. Also, poorer countries lose out because they do not have enough money to maintain

Kerkian 5 masses of art in their culture, such as Mali. Appiah states, The problem for Mali is not that it doesnt have enough Malian art. The problem is that it doesnt have enough money (7). Malians, like everyone else, should be able to have a mixed artistic experience. Yoshino recognizes that embracing separate identities blinds us from the truth that all of mankind is a common race. Savan notes a false racism and spurred view of an intermixed society. Appiah points out that mankind should embrace all art as its own rather than causing conflict. All of these social issues consist of false realities that lead society to believe there is a need to embrace separate identities.

Works Cited

Kerkian 6 Savan, Leslie. Whats Black, Then White, And Said All Over? Emerging. 2006. Ed. Barclay Barrios. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. 181-211. Yoshino, Kenji. Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. Emerging. 2006. Ed. Barclay Barrios. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009. 244-54. Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Whos Culture Is It, Anyway? Emerging. 2006. Ed. Barclay Barrios. @nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. 1-16.