How do you define identity?

Identity answers the question “Who am I?” It is one or more the roles that are formed throughout years of exploration that someone considers themselves within a particular social, educational, or workforce situation.

Which group or people have had the most impact on your identity?

I think the group that has the biggest impact on my identity is my educational influences. I learn so much about society(my second category with the second largest impact) through my education. I value being a student highest because it affords me the opportunity to be independent, and a free thinker. The other column with the highest impact on my identity would be culture. I do not think it is influence of my own culture that impacts my identity rather the understanding of my own absence of culture and my desire to become more cultured as a person that creates a value for who I am as person. I think the same would hold true for societal standards. My sexual orientation is not shaped by what society tells me to be, but rather an understanding for what society shouldn’t be, my family has shaped my sexual orientation through there understanding for diversity, and the media has influenced my sexuality through understanding the United States dominant culture. My religion is influenced by my family, and my contributions to society as a volunteer are also shaped by my family.

Have You Ever Been Treated Unfairly Because of Your Identity or Treated Someone Else Unfairly Because of Their Identity

I can remember a time that I was treated unfairly regarding my sexual orientation. I was hanging out with a guy, who did not understand my desire to be with a woman and he told me it was a sin against god, and that we could no longer be friends. I can remember several times I was treated with disrespect due to my religion. I have ran across several individuals who have confronted me with the idea that their religious views are superior to mine. I can not think of an occurrences when I was directly able to attribute unfair treatment to my age, or race. I have came across several occurrences when I was treated unfairly due to my sex. I live in Texas, and females are viewed as being a weaker sex. I used to work at Tractor Supply Company, and would often request to work on the floor helping customer’s carry out loads of feed, or other “heavy labor” type of jobs. I was denied this request, regardless of my time at the company which at that point had been over 6 months. Several males had just been hired and allowed to work the role that I had aspired to have, the position I desired did not require an increase of pay, hours, or other commitment, simply a relocation in the store and diverse responsibility. I can think of several times I have judged people based off their national orientation. I often get upset when people do not speak in proper English, and instead of correcting them in a polite way it can become a power struggle, and a way for me to assert dominance, or belittle them. I have been consistently working on this since my awareness of it.

Have you ever labeled someone based on their experience?

I have labeled people in my head off their appearance more than expressed my feelings outward, I am often worried though that my judgements may still be displayed subconsciously or subliminally. I have labeled people to try and understand who they are, and never meant any malice. I often label people that I think are homosexual or lesbian.

Were your assumptions correct when you made them based on labels?

I don’t know if my assumptions were correct or not. I often just doing it automatically when I see people walking by and am sometimes too nervous to approach them or talk with

Do you think you have any biases against a particular group of people?

I do have biases against certain groups of people. I think my biases may be in part from stereotypes, fear, and media influences. I have biases against dating Latino men because I view them as being controlling and I don’t like to be controlled. I also have biases against people that are christian or catholic because I have found that people who are radically religious often try and push their beliefs onto me and that makes me uncomfortable.

How would your life be different if you had a different identity?

My life would be different if I was a different race, such as African American due to a possibly lesser amount of opportunities, and resources available to me. I am now aware of the problems with discrimination that still exist in society, but I did not grow up around people of diverse ethnicity, or even any variety of culture. I did not realize that racism still existed until I was exposed to people my own age that were racist. I think if I was African American I would not be able to be as independent as I am now, but I might have more opportunities to create my own independence. I think that the ethnocentric ideas of white supremacy can keep people stagnant without exploring options. There are several universities, scholarships, grants that are available for people that aren’t “white” and I think that access to those opportunities would help create independence. I think that the inner cultural influences also play a big part in people’s identity, a group of African Americans are going to be “harder” on a person in their family or group trying to better themselves. The inner group mentality enables people to stay where they are at, the members of the inner group may accuse others of being, “too good”, or “trying to be white” or “not black enough” causing discouragement and fear of rejection.

Discuss a trait that gives you privilege or a negative experience that you wouldn’t have had if you had privilege.

I am going to write about the privilege of being a woman. I think that because men have found me attractive it has opened opportunities for my own independence. However, I feel that because I am a woman I have felt obligated to pay favors to people that have grated me opportunities because I am a woman. I have also been kept from doing things that I want to do explicitly because I am a woman, often in sports.

Have you ever felt left out because of your identity traits?

I feel like I have been left out of opportunities for scholarships grants, schools and jobs because I am white. I have been told I can not relate to certain students because I am white, but everyone has felt rejection from some group of people at any give time. I did not have any friends in grade school, and that rejection has propelled me to search for a greater meaning for myself with people that do care about me and understand me.

What privileges might others have based on their identities?

I think that people who are heterosexual, white, and male have similar privileges. The privileges these groups have include voting rights, housing rights, representation in congress, higher pay, etc…

Is it fair that some groups have more privilege? No, it is not fair that some groups have more privileges than others. I think in some instances the inequalities help people work harder to overcome certain obstacles.

How do you benefit from discrimination against others?

I benefit from being a white female, I might may more job opportunities than a female of another race or ethnicity.

What is the purpose of oppressing a group of people?

Groups are oppressed to reinforce the power and privilege of
the oppressing group. It is not fair, ethical or acceptable. Oppressing groups is sometimes
legal, its hard to tell what is oppression and what is not, so there is a fine line between legality
and illegality. Certain groups might not know they are being oppressed or what to do about it.

Ways to speak up when witnessing oppression.

I can speak up about oppression based off age by recognizing it when it happens, and doing what I can to intervene. If I see an elderly person, or a young person applying for a job, I can go out of my way to help them get the job or set them up for success. If I notice someone making jokes, or derogatory comments such as “that’s gay” I can voice my opinion to make it stop. If I see someone being oppressed due to their gender I can provide them with motivation, and tell them “I’ve been there”. If I see someone being denied opportunities because of their race, nationality or disability I can report it to the proper authorities. I can also intervene whenever these groups are talking about in a conversational manner, I can speak out against them.

What makes a good communicator?

I think its important to be consciously aware of how words are phased to not exclude, demean, or hurt other people. Language is a powerful resource and people take it for granted. We can use words that include, instead of include like, us, we, together, and all. Also being aware of word choice that are neutral, for example, instead of saying Him or Her, she can say Je, or Z. We can also use ethnicity instead of race, or refer to people as Americans instead of “African Americans”.

Write about a scenario in which you did not demonstrate effective or appropriate communication skills?

I can think of a very recent scenario in which I did not communicate as effectively as I could have, or should have. I was at an open house for a job I wanted to get after graduation. There were a couple of other people that were asking questions about volunteering with kids, and I explained that the kids will receptive to your “newness” as long as you come from a place of compassion and not judgment. I feel that I should have spoken with less dominance, and attitude. I should have give the representative holding the open house an opportunity to explain the transition into the position. There was another situation at that open house where a person attempted to interrupt me, or answer the question for me and I just finished my question. I did not need to domineer, I could have stopped and let him talk and waited till he had finished asking his question.

How do you communicate differently with peers than professors?

I communication with my peers with a more emotion then I do my professors. I feel like my professors always have something more important to say, then what I can say. I like to hear what they have to say and I am often submissive and responsive, waiting for my time to talk with my body language, facial expressions and tone of voice.

What prevents you from listening to others?

I think I become distracted or not able to listen to others when I have somewhere to be, or am running late. I also get distracted and anxious when I am unable to speak my opinion and like to interject. I should really slow down and listen to what people have to say before becoming emotionally involved. The lack of communication that can occur also causes the interaction to loose credibility, and respect can be lost as well.

Why Is it important to communicate effectively?

I defiantly agree that communication is important to be successful in every aspect of life. Communication can make or break any and every opportunity you have. If you are using language that is offensive, or a tone of voice that is exclusionary or limit other people will not be receptive to your point of view, nor what you have to say.

What are your fears when communicating with people who are different from you?

I have fears about communicating with people that are different from me because I am worried that I will implicitly express myself as judgmental, and I don’t want to. I also have fears that people will not understand me, or that I will say something wrong and sound dumb.

How would you stop two friends from arguing?

I would get their attention and try to serve as a mediator. I could ask to hear one side, and request that the other friend listen for a few minutes before speaking. I would request that the other friend do the same thing and listen to both sides and point out similarities and differences. Having a mediator serves as a good result because people can become hurt by what they hear someone say, versus what the person was attempted to say.

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