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About identity

Identity defines who a person is. It is through their individual characteristics, social and political contexts, and family dynamics that shape one’s identity. There are several types of identity such as racial and ethnic identity, which end up defining part of someone. Subculture can be defined as sub, meaning below, then culture. It is a group within a larger cultural group. People within a subculture have similar interests, characteristics, or beliefs. People identify themselves with a subculture, and that subculture is a part of who they are. There is an idea that the way identity works is what Tatum mentions, “The parts of our identity that do capture our attention are those that other people notice, and that reflect back to us.” (11) This is idea truly evident in everyone’s life. For example, in my life, I have been called kind since fourth-grade and smart since eighth-grade. Since then, whenever someone told me to define myself, I would associate myself with those words. But despite all the positive things society defines you as, society targets exceptional with the rest or other. Tatum mentions that you can be labelled as other in these types of ways, “People are commonly defined as other on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and physical or mental ability”,” (11). From my experience, I was labelled as an other based off my race, ethnicity, and religion during high school. For being an Arab and Muslim, I received racial slurs from terrorist to jihadists. It was the very first encounter I have ever had with any type of racial slurs. The types of oppression associated with the “other” categories are brought by the dominant groups when they label the subordinate groups. Tatum illustrates the effects that these oppressionistic labels when she says, “Worse yet, the negative messages of the dominant group about the subordinates may be internalized, leading to self-doubt or, in its extreme form, self-hate”,” (13). This is what I began to experience with more and more hate thrown towards me. I remember one kid said I was the cause of 9/11, an absolute horrific disaster, which made he hate myself for being me. It made me have doubt in myself, whether or not my beliefs were that bad that people say they are. After time progressed, I realized that these statements, made by a dominantly white group, are just to mess me up. So I let the self-doubt and hate fade away inside, and I accepted who I was. Nothing can change me. It was a truly a scary thought to question or have any doubts about me and my beliefs. This is how identity mainly works. You are essentially labelled by society, and you take in what you are labelled. As for subculture membership, that lies within your identity. Whatever your identity is, is what determines what subculture you will fit into. For example, if you identify as someone who is outgoing and sporty, you will probably fit into the jock subculture. For me at least, I am a total nerd and love to play games, so it automatically put me into the gaming subculture. Usually most forms of subculture memberships are not something where you need to require something, except for a love or interest as the other individuals do in that subculture.

Ever since 2010, gaming would be a place where I can let loose from all the stresses of school. One subculture I am a part is the gaming subculture. This subculture is a form of media culture influenced by video games. Members of this subculture are known as gamers, and gamers are people who devote themselves to gaming as a hobby. Gamers can include anyone from kids to adults, any gender, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. A belief in the gaming subculture is that woman are typically “casual” or bad at gaming. However this stereotype towards women is not true, as there are many skilled women gamers out there. Tatum mentions, “When a subordinate demonstrates positive qualities believed to be more characteristic of dominants, the individual is defined by dominants as an anomaly”,” ( ). The women who are skilled in video games tend to be overlooked by the subculture. The reason this belief exists is, because men are mainly portrayed in the competitive scene of gaming, and not so much for women. It seems obvious that the activity for the gaming subculture is video games, but there different types of gamers. There are the casual gamers, who are noobs or don’t play much. There are hard-core gamers, these are the ones who play very frequently. There are professional gamers, people who play games for a living or prize money. It type of gamer you are in the subculture all depends on the amount of time you put it. There is no membership requirements, except that you love to play games and identify as a gamer. For being a member of the subculture, you get to experience and interact with the vast amount of people from all different walks of life. You also get the opportunity to make new friends online, where it seems more easier for some people to interact rather than in real life. As I said before, gaming has been a stress reliever for me, since 2010. It is really important to me, because it got me through the tough times in school whether it was exams or a bully at school. During 5th grade, I was physically and verbally bullied on a daily basis. It all occured in my last years of elementary school, in the brief moments that I lived in Tennessee. I remember the same kid would always call me stupid, and other inappropriate names for a ten-year-old. I was also pushed into a corner during lunch time. I absolutely could not wait to get out of “hell”, despite me informing multiple adults and nothing changing. The one thing I looked forward to after those school days, my rays of sunshine, would be playing on the Wii with me and brother. It really did help me destress, and forget about the negative things that occurred in the day. I still continue this habit, not from destressing from bullies this time, but rather exams. Gaming is also how me and my old friends still connect with one another, as well as meeting all types of new people. I was very melancholy that I had to leave my home town in New York. Moving into a whole new state with total different people, and having to start over making new friends is scary. Gaming helped me keep in touch with the bonds that I made at home in New York, so that all the time I spent there was not for naught. I still hang out with them to this very day, and we have a total blast every time the gang is on.

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I have been fascinated by idea and potential of hacking for a very long time. I have wondered many times how does one hack or learn to hack. A new subculture I would like to join is the hacking subculture. This subculture includes people who enjoy the challenge of overcoming limitations of software systems to good outcomes.The hacking subculture is based all around the activity of hacking. Hacking is all about how one engages in the activity of programming in a playful or adventurous way. The members are most infamously known as hackers, people who are computer programmer enthusiasts. Not to be confused with a security hacker. They follow a certain belief that you are judged purely on your hacking skills, not your race, ethnicity, beliefs, or gender, etc. Membership for this subculture will require loads of training in programming, with the ability to think in a cleverly manner. What that means I have to do in order to fulfill this requirement is to take classes to obtain the knowledge for programming, and work my way up to more higher advanced levels of programming to have a more transparent understanding. In my current state, programming and coding all seem to be a foreign language to me. The benefits for being a member is that you get to show of your skills of programming, and get to collaborate with other people to help you get better to improve on your hacking skills. The main reason I want to become a member is to combine my gaming world with hacking skills, if I do happen to acquire them. People in today’s society that all hackers are bad, when those are known as “crackers”. The media mainly portrays hackers as cracker who are known to infiltrate security, whether good or bad intentions. Tatum says that, “dominant access to information about the subordinates is often limited to stereotypical depictions of the “other”,” (12). The media and movies like to portray hackers in a bad light. For example, in TV shows they may hack someones credit card account or they might leak high security classified files by the U.S. that should not be presented to the public. Not all hackers are like this. There are white hat hackers, which test the security of systems to make sure they well secured and protected. There are black hats, which have bad intentions portrayed by the media. Then there is the grey hats, which is a middle ground between white and black hats. Those are known as security hackers. There is a totally different faction based on computer programming. Besides all of that muck the media likes to flush out to the masses, I only wish to join the subculture to implement it with my gaming subculture. By merging the two together, I will have the ante up in gaming, if I obtain computer programming hacker knowledge.

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The gaming and hacking subculture are very much intertwined with one another. To begin with, computer programming is the what makes gaming’s existence even exist. It is the job of many game developers to make their game by first coding the game. Coding allows movement and certain commands in a video game to exist. The more advanced a game is in terms of it’s gameplay, performance, and graphics, the more advanced the coding becomes. With that said, it is possible to rewrite a game’s code and “hack” it to alter it in a way you want it to be altered. Whether it is for your own benefit or for others. Typically, it would seem unfair to attempt this in an online game, because it can disrupt the balance and flow of things. It should be done mainly in a single-player game. This would be known as cheating or hacking in the gaming community, where you make yourself to overpower through means of cheating the system. In reality it all just about rewriting the code. These two subcultures fit harmoniously together. The both share the same ethic, that in both subcultures you are judges on skill. Not race, gender, ethnicity, beliefs, and etc. I think this is a good core system, because no one can be a labelled as an other based of their own identity. Tatum mentions that there seven categories of other that has its own oppression, “Each of these categories has a form of oppression associated with it: racism, sexism, religious oppression/anti-Semitism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, and ableism, respectively”,” (11). The gift about these two subcultures is that people tend to stray away from committing these oppressionist acts. To do so would to walk out of line, as it does not meet the ethical standards of the two subcultures. So the only thing someone can be truly discriminated for is their. Skill level can change, unlike your race or ethnicity. Unlike skill, those values can not change, because it defines you as a person, your identity. Gaming and hacking subcultures can also be viewed to seen to have tensions together. There are many people in the gaming community who despise hackers who play online, and ruin the experience for others by making themselves to overpowered. Usually people who do this or not that good to begin, and thirst for a quicker way to become more skilled. Tatum emphasizes this view when she says, ”In a situation of unequal power, a subordinate group has to focus on survival. It becomes very important for subordinates to become highly attuned to the dominants as away of protecting themselves”,” (12). In this case the subordinate group in low skilled players, while the dominant ones remain the more hard-core skilled gamers. The low skilled players thirst for cheats in online multiplayer games, such as god mode or aim assist. These cheats make them unkillable, and gives their player infinite accuracy. From my experience I can vouch for the gaming community, and say that I have experienced in rare instances where a player would be unkillable. They would likely be reported to the game admins and receive a ban as a result, which is why hacking should only be use in single-player games so that it does not negatively impact the experiences of other players.

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Ultimately, your identity is chosen by how society labels you, and your identity determines what potential subcultures you can easily fit into. The gaming subculture relieves me from my stresses, and connects me with my friends close and far. I hope to also get into the hacking subculture to see the potential in can provide in the gaming world for me in the near future.

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