Color: The Medium That Represents Our Cultural Identity

Medium, Ethnicity, Culture, Desire, Connection, Ideology


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A culture is a social practice of people residing in a certain place that resembles their birth, race, gender, ethnicity, religion and beliefs. Like a meuseum, it preserves history and pass it from generations to generations making it a very essential factor for a person to know to help shape their whole being. It also has a big contribution to a person’s self-esteem, belongingness and self identity that people will even fight and die for it.

Through time, it is also a common practice for people to describe the cultural identity of a person through their outside appearance and skin color. By just merely looking at a person’s skin color, one would identify if someone is Japanese, Mexican or American. For some people, it is also a way to measure the kind of treatment that a person deserve, proving that race identification and belongingness through skin color is truly a big effect to an individual’s state of social belongingness and individuality.

Some cultural critics say that since friendships are established and maintained by different countries worldwide in this present time, mix-raced relationship caused a serious effect in the pureness of every country’s culture making it now difficult to describe the cultural identities of people coming from this kind of relationship wherein skin color as an outside appearance is not enough to identify their culture. From an article of William Frey, he stated that in the year 1990-200, biracial unions increased by 65% in the United States showing that as time pass, more and more people from mix-race relationships has the possibility of having cultural identity crisis that will as well affect the people with pure cultural identity from their social groups.

 The idea of skin color in cultural identity raised many questions regarding social theories. Although there are serveral studies to identify, explain and understand the factors of this matter, there are still unresolved issues regarding racism and descrimination.

Statement of Research

In an article of Pearl Fuyo Gaskins of the San Francisco Chronicle entitled “In the Mix”, she stated that she was once asked for her citizenship in a tone of “What are you? Chinese or Something?” The question of “What are you…” triggered her tought.  Most people are identified or even treated by others through their physical appearance. For people who are pure raced, cultural crisis may not be an issue from their skin color, but from people who have different races in their veins, it might be a problem.

Skin color in history has a big factor for a person’s future and role in the world. One can be either a freeman or a slave. Different countries had experienced racial judgement through their skin color. People commonly termed as ”black” are referred and treated to be slaves. No education, right and value. Mostly they are sold to serve ”white” people who are acknowledged to be a higher class of people. During the Spanish regime in the Philippines, Spaniards called Filipinos as ”indio”  (english word as ”stupid”) just because of their copper skin and small physical features. During the holocaust at Germany, Jews are also identified through their skin color. They are seperated them from their homes and families to be prosecuted by German soldiers.

The impact of the connection of skin color to racial and personal identity caused many killings in the past. Some of its after effects are trauma and social stigma in the side of the victims and still violence from the side of the people who still act and believe the same ideology regarding skin color passed to them through their ancestors.

The aim of my research paper is to focus on the issues of color  as a medium of cultural identity from the past of history to the current time, its effect to the people and its possible things it might bring to the future. This paper will go deep to the definition of skin color and cultural identity as it analyze, explain and answer these different questions such as:

·                     What is skin color and its connection to cultural identity?

·                           Is cultural identity exclusive to the people who belongs only in a certain ethnic group?

·                     How what is the impact of ethnicity to a social behavior of an individual?

·                     What are the effects of racial discrimination to an individual and how are people from mix-raced relationships are accepted  by the public?

I am also interested to know personally if poeple should be proud of their skin color.


William H. Frey, Review Charticle <> viewed 27 January 2008

PEARL FUYO GASKINS (1999) In The Mix, San Francisco Chronicle

<> viewed 28 January 2008.

J.H. Liu, S. Miller Campbell and H. Condie (1995) Ethnocentrism in dating preferences for an

American sample: the ingroup bias in social context. European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 25,95-115

J.J. Hong, S.R. Woody (2007) Cultural mediators of self-reported social anxiety, Behavior

Research and Therapy 45

Eric Ariel Salas. Cultural identity pivotal for self-acceptance, not skin color, 2008
Sally Haslanger.  Changing the Ideology of Culture of Philisophy: Not by Reason

(Alone) Department of Linguistics and Philosophy; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008

Tom Lewis, Jane Nankivell. Slow Tucker Long Yarn. Artwork Magazine – 57, 2008

Megan Tady, Environmental Racism Still Major Problem, Report Confirms. The New Standards,
April 27, 2007

Review Charticle: An article that explains the raising of biracial unions in United States.

In The Mix: Is an article about a young woman’s question about her cultural identity and question why people judge others through their outside apprearance.

Ethnocentrism in dating preferences for an American sample: the ingroup bias in social context. Explains the different areas that a person must consider when choosing a lifetime partner specially from different race such as their similarity, physical attractiveness, social status, network acceptance, ethnic identification and preferences. Indicating that people should be alert in choosing their lifetime partner in terms of not just the outside appearance but as well as the inside specially if they are from different race.

Cultural mediators of self-reported social anxiety An article that shows the different effects of behavioral problems that people has in terms of identity or cultural identity crisis. This paper shows that people from biracial unions experience social anxiety, negligence, emotional stress and personal and family relationship problems.

Cultural identity pivotal for self-acceptance, not skin color : An article from a Filipino writer who is proud of his brown-colored skin. He explains that people should not forget their cultural identity and acknowledge it. In addition, he also proves that skin color has nothing to do with acceptance in culture.

Changing the Ideology of Culture of Philisophy: Not by Reason (Alone)  An article indicating that cultural preferences including the diversion of female capacity to work from men must be stopped and factors of bias and unconsiousnes of people should not be

Slow Tucker Long Yarn.  A report about an adventure of two reporters to help build a poor six communities and their experience to adopt from different cultures and accept it without the worry of their skin color.

Environmental Racism Still Major Problem, Report Confirms. A report indicating that despite from all  the people ways of advertising anti-racism to the world, issues of racism still hunts people.

Digital Artefact

To have a better presentation regarding my study, I will present two presentations. The first presentation is a website that I will make through the use of Macromedia Dreamweaver,to show a brief description about skin color and cultural identity, mostly a summary of my paper. I chose Macromedia Dreamweaver over other web developing software because I believe that it’s better than the other software available. For editing the pictures that I will need for the project, I will use Adobe Photoshop since it’s the best tool to modify pictures. The website will contain three (3) frames containing the header, and the body of the website divided into two. The left side will be the main menu and the right side will the main body.

After the website, I will also present a short flash presentation through Macromedia flash that will show the different slides of images showing the effects of discrimination through history until the present time to make the viewers see and realize that these events of descrimination are real and affecting our society and we should do something about it.  Also to add more feeling to the presentation, i will also put an instrumental background music to the slide.

The main objective of the presentation is to alert the viewers about the truth about other’s people behavior towards cultural identity. Make them feel an experience of how it is to be treated according to their color. How will they feel if they are selected to be one of the group to die in a gas chamber in holocaust? Or to be included in a group of slaves because of your black skin? Will they react if some people say that you do don’t have the right to vote because you’re a aeta (Filipino native people)?


It is true that skin color is a big factor for identifying a person’s cultural identity. This medium for self identity may cause some benefits and some disadvantage to an individual. My choice to write about skin color as a medium to cultural identity came from a curiosity of how people live their life because of their color. By creating an artefact that will help me make the viewers understand more about my paper, I believe that I could educate not just the people who veiws my work, but also myself to know the importance of identity.

Another term that I will also want to emphasize in this paper is racism. It affects peoples personal and professional lives making this world a smaller place to live. I believe that if I could make people aware of the hurtings done through racism, I could somehow influence them to do their own ways to endorse equality of treatment to others.


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