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Personal/Social Identity Development: Who am I? Who are my people? Christopher E Hughbanks AHE 199 Lecture Residence Education University Housing and Dining.

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Presentation on theme: "Personal/Social Identity Development: Who am I? Who are my people? Christopher E Hughbanks AHE 199 Lecture Residence Education University Housing and Dining."— Presentation transcript:

1 Personal/Social Identity Development: Who am I? Who are my people? Christopher E Hughbanks AHE 199 Lecture Residence Education University Housing and Dining Services Oregon State University Powerpoint Adapted From: Adams, M., Bell, L. & Griffin (2007) “Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice,” New York: Routledge.

2 Delimitations We focus on social justice issues in the United States This one way to understand the dynamics of social justice and oppression This is a snap shot of a dynamic process

3 Diversity Education Focuses on appreciating differences between social identity group Group’s traditions, language, style of dress, cultural practices, religious beliefs and practices … Lacks an emphasis on power dynamics or differential access to resources and institutional support needed to live safe, satisfying, productive lives

4 Social Justice Education Focuses on understanding the social power dynamics that result in some social groups having privilege, status, and access while other groups are disadvantaged, oppressed, and denied access Focuses on individual and social action to eliminate oppression

5 Identity A specific marker of how we define ourselves at any particular moment in life (Kirk & Okazawa-Rey) A set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group (American Heritage dictionary)

6 Identity Continued Comes about through the interaction between one’s internal sense of who one is (based upon one’s social grouping) and the views of oneself and one’s group reflected back by others in society (Kirk & Okazawa-Rey) Different contexts may highlight different dimensions of identity Salience of identities varies in different situations and throughout life (Tatum)

7 Identity Formation An ongoing process - the result of a complex interplay among individual decisions and choices, life events, community recognition and expectations, and societal categorization, classification and socialization - micro, mezo and macro level (Kirk & Okazwa-Rey) Answers Questions; Who Am I? Who do I want to be? Who do others think I am and want me to be? Who and what do societal and community institutions say I am? Which social groups do I want to affiliate with?

8 Personal Identities Characteristics that make you an individual How we see and feel about ourselves Personality, hobbies, activities, geographic location, academic or social issues


10 Social Identities / Social Groups Social Group (How people see / categorize me): A collection of people who share a range of physical, cultural or social characteristics within one of the categories of social identity (Harro, 2000) e.g., woman, Mexican, middle class, bi-sexual, Catholic, etc Social Identity - (How I see myself) One’s sense of oneself as belonging to a particular social group (Harro, 2000)

11 Some Social Identity Categories Sex Race Class Religion Ability / Disability Age Gender Sexual Orientation Ethnicity Culture Language

12 Example Social Identity Categories and Social Group Memberships Social Identity CategoriesSocial Group Members Race Black, White, Asian, Latino, Native American, Multiracial Sex Female, Male, Intersex Gender Men, Women, Transgender, Genderqueer Religion Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon Sexual Orientation Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Heterosexual Class Owning, Upper Middle, Middle, Working Class, Poor Ability Disabled, Temporarily Able-Bodied Age Elders, Adults, Young People


14 Questions?

15 The point where all the features embodied in a person overlap (multiple identities) A way of expressing the core of a person’s existence in the social and political world placing us in relationships to other, the dominant culture of the US and the rest of the word We live with multiple identities, some are privileged and some are targeted Social Location

16 Social identity groups have different statuses Advantaged (agent, dominant, privileged) –People within each social identity category with greater access to social power and privilege Targeted (oppressed, disadvantaged) –People within each social identity category whose access to power is limited or denied

17 Privilege Unearned access to resources (social power) only readily available to some people as a result of their advantaged social group membership. Examples: –Feeling physically safe in most places –Having connections to help you reach career goals –Having access to Health Care –Having your family legally sanctioned and protected through marriage –Being seen as an individual rather than stereotyped as a member of a social group

18 Prejudice and Discrimination Prejudice: A set of negative personal beliefs about a social group that leads individuals to pre-judge people from that group or the group in general, regardless of individual differences among members of that group. Discrimination: The act of denying members of a particular group equal access to societal resources (ie. education, jobs, housing, health care, etc.) - occurs when prejudiced feelings move into the realm of behavior

19 Oppression A system that maintains advantage and disadvantage based on social group memberships and operates, intentionally and unintentionally on individual, institutional, and cultural levels.

20 Matrix of Oppression Social Identity Categories Privileged Social Groups Border Social Groups Oppressed Social Groups Ism (type of Oppression) RaceWhite PeopleBiracial peopleAsian, Black Latina/o, Native People Racism SexBio MenTranssexual, Intersex People Bio WomenSexism GenderGender conforming Bio Men and Women Gender Ambiguous Bio Men and Women Transgender, Genderqueer, Intersex People Transgender Oppression Sexual Orientation Heterosexual People Bisexual PeopleLesbians, Gay Men Heterosexism ClassRich, Upper Class People Middle Class People Working Class, Poor People Classism Ability/DisabilityTemporarily Able- Bodied People People with Temporary Disabilities People with Disabilities Ableism ReligionProtestantsRoman Catholic (historically) Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs Religious Oppression AgeAdultsYoung AdultsElders, Young People Ageism/Adultism AND

21 Effects and Characteristics of Social Groups Advantaged Valued Privileged “Namers” “Normal” Accepted Visible Un-self conscious Ignorant of target groups’ experiences Dehumanized Targeted Devalued Suspected/blamed Stereotyped / Labeled “Abnormal” Excluded Invisible Conscious of self Knowledgeable of advantaged group Dehumanized

22 Questions to Consider What social identities do your close group of friends and family hold? Are there trends, commonalities? Which social identities were the hardest / easiest to identify for myself? Where are my learning edges? Which social identities categories would I like to learn more about? How will my residence hall community get to know each other’s personal and social identities How will I address conflict connected to social identities that surfaces in my residential community?

23 Level & Types of Oppression

24 Individual Societal/Cultural Institutional Levels of Oppression

25 Attitudes Beliefs Socialization Interpersonal interactions Individual behaviors Attitudes and actions that reflect prejudice against a social group. INDIVIDUAL

26 Policies, laws, rules, norms, and customs enacted by organizations and social institutions that disadvantage some social groups and advantage other social groups. INSTITUTIONAL Media Employment Government Housing Legal System Religion Health Care Education

27  Values and norms (Politeness, Etiquette)  Language (Dialects)  Standards of beauty  Holidays  Gender roles  Societal expectations Social norms, roles, rituals, language, music, and art that reflect and reinforce the belief that one social group is superior to another. SOCIAL/CULTURAL

28  Knowingly supporting social oppression through individual, institutional, and social/cultural means Conscious TYPES OF OPPRESSION

29  Accepting the dominant way of thinking and justifying oppression as normal or part of the natural order.  The unknowing or naive collusion with the maintenance of social oppression. Unconscious TYPES OF OPPRESSION

30 Levels & Types of Oppression Examples: IndividualInstitutionalCultural Conscious An adult openly dismisses the thinking of a young person simply because of their age. Someone who has been convicted of a crime often cannot vote, rent, or receive state benefits like welfare. The media normalizes violence against women, women as domestic, women as sexual objects, women as subordinant to men.. UnconsciousOrganizing a party at an expensive restaurant where your working class friend must choose between spending time with you and having something to eat. Many U.S. schools plan vacations around Christian holidays. The idea that wisdom comes with age and that young people’s ideas should not be heeded.

31 More Questions to Consider How does oppression impact the RA and CRF positions? Where does oppression (racism, classism, homphobia, sexism) exist on campus and in the residential community? How will I address issues of social justice and oppression in my residential community? What offices on campus can help me do this work? What questions do I still have? What aspects of oppression were new to me? Where can I go for more information? What happens when an issue arises in the community and I don’t know what to do?

32 Questions?

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