The Life on the Color Line

The process of the construction of cultural identity is very complicated and is affected by numerous factors, among which the ethnic origin and social environment of an individual are probably the most significant. In this respect, it should be said that the belongingness of a young person to an ethnic minority often raises unsurpassable barriers to his or her integration into the society, where the dominant ethnic groups ignores peculiarities and specificities of minorities. In such a situation, representatives of ethnic minorities have to choose either to preserve their own cultural identity or get adapted to the new, different culture, the culture of the dominant ethnic group.

At this point, it should be said that “The Life on the Color Line” reveals the essence of the problem of the identity construction by representatives of African-American community which takes the position of the ethnic minority. The author clearly shows that the formation of the cultural identity of an African American expose the person to a choice between traditional African American culture and white culture. If an African American prefers to preserve his cultural traditions and African American identity he is likely to be doomed to the exclusion from the society and can become an outcast. On the other hand, the acceptance of norms and rules of the white culture opens larger opportunities for the integration in the regular social life.

In such a situation, people who have parents of different races and cultures are not really in a better position since, as “Half+Half” shows, an individual has to choose which cultural identity to adopt that means that he cannot create a kind of mixed identity, but he has a choice.

Thus, the identity construction is a hard process for representatives of ethnic minorities since they have to choose either to preserve their cultural identity and get excluded from the society, or adopt the cultural norms of the dominant ethnic group.

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