Image of Kimberly Morris

KIMBERLY MORRIS

Being a multi-ethnic individual of Creole decent has played an enormous role in the way I view the world around me. I am of African and European decent; this greatly influences the way I experience society. Through the lens of beauty, I examine my diaspora, how society defines beauty, and how it affects the way people are perceived in contemporary culture.


What is an “identity”, and what advice can you give someone who is discovering their identity?

One’s identity is comprised of qualities and beliefs that distinguish you from another individual. For example, your ethnic heritage, gender, nationality, and religious beliefs can all be used as identifiers. When discovering and exploring your identity as a young person it is important to know first this is a life long journey, your identity may change throughout the years and that is ok. Having said that, it is also important to be honest with yourself on this journey to discovering “you”, you may find common ground with others around you who come from similar backgrounds ,but know that does not make you them or them you. You are still a singular individual that will have different life experiences that will help shape the way that you identify. Your identity is yours and yours alone.

 

When has your identity been compromised, and what advice can you give someone whose identity is being challenged?

I would say that as a woman of color my identity is constantly being challenged and that is just a fact of life for me. Be it through systematic racism, media, or individual interactions. My advice would be to continue being you, don’t back down. Challenge those that are challenging you be it an institution or an individual. Continue to strive so that your voice is heard through your action and success.

 

What actions and/or tools do you use to remind yourself about the value of your unique identity? How can someone be proud of who they are?

I would say that I remind myself that all individuals are unique, which means I am unique as well. I believe that no one individual is more special than another. However each culture, gender, religious group, sexual orientation, nationality, and ethnicity that we belong to are special in their own right, and if we can manage to get over ourselves and remember that, you will be proud of what you have to bring to the table. Strive to excel in who you are, and what you do; pride will be a byproduct.

 


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Image Credit: Kimberly Morris (US, b.1984), Masquerade, 2015. Digital photograph, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist