Home > Community, Society > Area of Interest: The Masks We Wear

Area of Interest: The Masks We Wear

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Shelby Steele references the concept of “masking” in a recording discussing his book on Barack Obama. The process of “masking” is one in which the individual tailors a projection to an audience or situation. For example, when we interact with a family member we present a different version of ourselves, or mask, than we do when we interact with a used-car salesman. These masks are both defensive and offensive.

Steele’s speech contextualizes the masking from a racial standpoint and goes as far to argue that masking is an essential activity in “minority life.” While I do not disagree with this notion, I would argue that masking is a universal human activity and occurs in all human interactions.

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