when do we become what people think we are ?

You all know the story of Mike Tyson: the most feared (not the best) heavyweight fighter ever. Average fight duration before his first loss: ~1min 30s. He was mean and he looked the part. However, before the ear bite and all the insanity, Tyson admitted to be an introvert kid, afraid of everything but especially of starving. The reason for his domination was his fear of being hit 1st and being famished 2nd. Clever boxing agents saw Tyson's ferocity and built the persona of "badass" ironmike. Once they convinced opponents and media of his ultimate mean streak, the media fed into this persona so much that Tyson himself was convinced and proclaimed himself the "baddest mo... ever."
So when did the shy kid become the most lethal hitter ?
Similarly, when did Tupac Shakur or Iverson become the most relevant icons of malagasy's youth overseas ? How is that related ? let me explain:
A quick look into the malagasy blogoshpere will tell you that malagasy youth relates preferentially (but not all) to the hip-hop culture. Hip-hop appeal to the youth is easy to understand: the "me vs-the world, I-will-not-be-ignored"vibe provides instanteneous identity. In a society that seems to not welcome them ( either for economic reasons or social reasons), hip-hop is a logical answer.
At some points in our life, we have a period of time when we are redefining our way of life,choices and priorities i.e who we are. However, more often that we would like, outside influences or perceptions play an underrated role in shaping our choices.
Tyson's blank sheet of a persona as a child was a perfect template for his agents to build "bad ironmike".
Malagasy's youth overseas have a void to fill from their identities being ignored where they live, so there comes hip-hop or other protest cultures which is then fedback by the society 's perception of a minority's youth.( This argument could be extended to other youth minorities although when the community grows to a recognizable size, this theory is flawed.)
By the way, I have no problem with kids embracing that culture. I will just say that once the angle "oppose-society" is outdated, a truer identity will be needed. Former hip hop most notorious "gansters" such as Ice Cube, Ice-T are now making comedies and tv shows. This should tell us that an identity is not engraved in stone but fluctuates around a basic core.
A final point on the effect of outside perception on the shaping of ourselves. A colleague of mine did not have any experiences in his new field of study ( molecular cloning )and dreaded the prospect of failing. However,his mentor kept repeating that she was good at it and very soon he indeed succeeded and now calls himself a molecular cloning guy. Eventually other colleagues have now seeked his advice on this subject. The repetitions by his mentor that he was a molecular biologist and the feedback from other coleagues persuaded him that at the core, this is what he was destined to do. He is now on the verge of great discoveries at UCSF.

No comments:

Post a Comment