Attack on Identity: Church Problems


“Nyasha liked to avoid her parents and their friends at these times because they were bound to say something offensive, like complaining that her gym-slip was too short or grumbling that in three years she had still not learnt the correct way of greeting her elders. Their comments made her self-conscious, quite in contrast to the desired improving effect. So Nyasha avoided them, or when this was impossible, grunted a greeting with a sad lack of technique and escaped as quickly as possible. Her behavior embarrassed Babamukuru, so he too preferred that she should keep her distance”(100).

Nyasha experiences the nervous condition brought upon by the church. The church expects certain kinds of behavior that goes against her natural quirks as an individual. Usually the regulation of the church activities allows there to be no opportunity for her to stand out. The quote here though exemplifies how different she is from what people want her to be. At least from the text here she does not seem to even do anything intentionally malicious. She is just naturally prone to going against typical protocol for this kind of setting. The situation becomes awkward because she is self aware of her failure to respond in the appropriate ways and aims to avoid conflict. She is torn between appeasing others and being her natural self. Unfortunately institutions like the church have been known to focus on rigid adherence to outward rule following rather than celebrating the individual. We see here how that pressure to maintain appearances leaves Nyasha horribly stressed. The best way to focus on allowing the church to function as a community is to ensure that each and every person’s individual identity is welcomed rather than critiqued into one specific model of behavior. For Nyasha there is no both only either or. She can act the way Babamukuru and the church desire or be her own person. This is why a nervous condition is in place because she is literally being torn apart by the two forces opposing each other for her soul.

A more prevalent nervous condition that comes to mind in today’s day and age involves race. Lately I have noticed in my life that people are forcing me to proclaim one ethnic identity over another. To me it is a nervous condition because I do not want to be split into two separate categories. However people look at me and say that I must be white and nothing else. Therefore I have some kind of responsibility to make sure that I deny whatever privilege society grants me. Or if someone actually bothers to pay attention to me and finds out that I am also hispanic I must educate people on why Im not a stereotype. Also if I do not fit enough of the stereotypes involving Hispanics that I must not be a real one. I do not even know why this has to be an issue? Cant I just be both and call it a day? There are even individuals that say it is my responsibility to enlighten people. I never asked for this and I do not even want my identity to be dependent upon my race anyways. I am so much more than just my ethnic background. Whether I am labeled as a part of the problem for being white or a victim for being hispanic I do not care for labels. All I want is to be Jonathan and have people see me for something other than race. To be fair I have a good amount of friends that do not subject this unfair treatment to me. It is just throughout my life I have had to put up with more of this than I care to admit. It is not a constant concern everyday and I may be guilty of sensationalism but it just represents frustration I feel from time to time. The stress of it is what has me thinking it could be a nervous condition.





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