My identity

Ok, could there be a term more self-reflective than “my identity”? I think it would be hard to match. My thought on the subject are therefore mainly not meant as a look into my own personal psychology, but rather as an example of how non-nationals create identity or identities from a person who has tried to get passed the most obvious contradictions.

First and foremost, one of the main problems for non-nationals in reflecting on their identity is the complexity that their status gives them. Most people can cook their identity down to a few attributes like race (in the US) or nationality (in Europe), but multi-nationals can not do that in the same way. Not only is it a matter of adding another word, but as at leats two of the attributes will be defined in opposition to oneanother, so further explanations will be neccesary to communicate one’s identity correctly. Whenever one is stuck in a situation of having to present oneself, one will have to choose between either using a few hours on explanations or cutting out all but one of the attributes within a given category (nation or race).

After having reflected upon it, I have tried to stop letting myself be reduced to one of those categories, however, as the examples in my personal history show, the most common strategy is probably to deny one of the attributes, simply by “forgetting” all about it (language, cultural codes, etc.)

Here we have a few examples of how I tried to handle identity in different ways: In Bisbee, AZ, I managed to use enough space to represent all of Germnay, Denmark and Norway as well as showing my sympathy for US-Americans and dfferentiating myself from the Europan population at large. In Molde, N, I do not manage to have just as broad a profile and for the international press, I choose to be Norwegian. While in this student newspaper in Oslo, N, I am simply a “border person”. I think it is due to the surplus of knowledge on the matter in Flensburg, D, that I can not only give a view that I am from several countries, but also be abl to critisize the “Danishness” that people carry at large.

As we can notice, it is not only about the amount of information that is given, it is also about the way it is presented. Being German and Danish can mean many things, as the above excerpts show.