Every person as a mature individual has a conception of herself/himself that has been built based on a group of identities throughout her/his life. Identities are built on top of various attributes and experiences, which are open to different interpretations: “race” is a good example for this statement, as it is an important identity for some societies and it is not the important one for others. There are multiple types of identities, they may be self-designed or created by others. They may endure for centuries or change when there is a shift in circumstances. Identities can be as broad as male or female, Muslim or Christian, or as narrow as being a member of a particular family. They can be collective; at this point, identities extend to countries and ethnic communities. They can be nested within each other (I am from Boston, I am from the United States), but sometimes identities compete with each other (I am Muslim, but I do not wear a veil).
Ethnicity is one of the most controversial forms of identity. Some analysts believe ethnicity is unchangeable because it is a primordial phenomenon attached to the person from birth. On the other hand, some believe, ethnicity is changeable because it was constructed by different choices that person has made during his/her life. Based on this point of view, ethnicity is considered as a socially constructed phenomenon. Some identities are fixed at birth, such as nationality, parental ethnicity and religion; some may be acquired during life, such as religious practices or spoken language, but both of these groups are modifiable. Each person should have the right to choose who he/she wants to be, which religion he/she wants to practice, and which nationality he/she wants to pick.
There is a question jumping out of my female, Iranian born, Muslim, Democrat, US citizen’s brain: can I hold onto my identities if Donald Trump wins the White House?