In a community, or even a society, there is a way in which everyone fits in. What do you do to contribute? What do you get for your contribution? Who are you? How do you relate to others? In the end, you have to take up space as a unique individual. This is your identity.
Many times, an identity is socially constructed and given to an individual. In a healthy society, this can be consensual. Society asks of you a contribution based on an honest evaluation of who you are.
In an unhealthy society such as this one, it is forced. To those benefiting from force and domination, identity seems as a default position. The privileged find themselves buoyant in their own societies and see themselves reflected back when they look into society. So they say to themselves, "yes this is me, and this is how the world should be," usually without thinking much.
Unfortunately for marginalized peoples - in this case people of color - the identity received from dominant society is toxic at best, and deadly at worst. People of color are forced into a position to contribute to society based on that society's faulty conception of individuals of color. And so marginalized individuals are forced to contribute as caricatures which are constructed by a spatially and emotionally distant society that has tried and failed to understand them. Society has not bothered to understand marginalized individuals on their terms, but on the society's terms.
Or else the dominant society manages to dehumanize and demonize individuals of color altogether, making them into unwanted objects fit for displacement, imprisonment, and destruction.
At this point, identity has to be fought for and then defended, as a matter of survival.