Introduction

Each module page of this course will have a video, exercises, and a quiz to help you on your quest to become an ally. Please watch the following video before completing the exercises and quiz on this page.

Part 1 Video

Social Identity Wheel

As shown in the previous video, here is an example of a completed Social Identity Wheel. Please download and complete a Social Identity Wheel of your own with how you identify your current group memberships for each category.

example of a completed social identity wheel

Social Identity Categories

It might be helpful to break down each of these social categories a bit. Let’s look at each category of identity:

  • Social Class incorporates one’s income, education, and occupational prestige. You may identify as middle-class, upper-class, lower-middle-class, lower-class, or poor as an identity label, or with another identity label altogether.
  • Ethnicity refers to a population that shares common characteristics, which can include things like language, traditions, religion, and tribal or national origin. Some examples of ethnicity include Latinx, African American, Asian American, or European American.
  • Race is a social construction that groups people based on physical characteristics, not based in biological fact. Some examples of races people may identify with include Black, White, First Nations American Indian, or Multiracial.
  • Gender is one’s psychological sense of oneself as being genderqueer, transgender, woman, man, and so forth. Genderqueer is someone who does not fit into the gender binary (i.e., woman or man). Transgender is someone whose gender identity or gender expression does not match with the gender assigned at birth according to what society deems normative based on external biological sex characteristics.
  • Worldview (Religion, spirituality, and other values) refers to your belief systems and practices concerning theology, and the existence of a deity or deities. Perhaps you identify as Agnostic, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Wiccan, Atheist, or non-denominational. Perhaps you identify as a spiritual person and not with an organized religion.
  • Ability Status refers to your current physical, emotional, or mental capacities. Some possible identities that may fit for people include able-bodied, temporarily or currently able-bodied, or as someone with a disability.
  • Sexual Orientation describes who we primarily hold emotional, romantic, physical and sexual attractions toward, as well as connections with. It may be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual, asexual (a lack of interest in or desire for sex or sexual partners), pansexual (someone who experiences attraction toward members of all gender identities and expressions), or another identity.
  • Other Salient Identities refer to other social group memberships that are really important to you. When you think about your roles, and who you are in the world, what stands out? Maybe a salient identity for you is your language, age, or nationality, for instance.

For a greater breakdown and discussion of these terms, please visit the following links:
https://www.uml.edu/docs/Glossary_tcm18-55041.pdf
http://sja.sdes.ucf.edu/docs/social-justice-terminology.pdf

Social Identity Reflection

Once you have completed your Social Identity Wheel, reflect with the following questions:

  • What emotions came up for you when you completed your Social Identity Wheel?
  • What three identities are most salient (important) to you? Why?
  • How each of your social identities have influenced your experiences, who you are, and how you see yourself.
  • What three identities do you think OTHERS see first when they see you?
  • How each of your social identities have influenced how others see and treat you.
  • What are the advantages or benefits that you have experienced as a result of each of your social identities?
  • What are the disadvantages or costs that you have experienced as a result of each of your social identities?
  • Which aspects of your cultural identity do you reflect on most often? Which do you think about the least? How come?
  • What areas of your identity wheel were difficult/challenging for you to figure out? How come?
  • If you had to describe your cultural background to someone, what would you say?

Social Justice Lingo

Our social identities lead to the rich diversity of people we see in society. However, within this diverse world, many experience interpersonal bias, which consists of prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping. Members of certain social groups (e.g., women, Muslims, transgender people), face further problems due to living in a society that does not adequately promote equity.

Interpersonal bias includes four components:

  • Stereotype – a view held by a group of people toward another group of people, which is fixed and unwavering, allowing for no critical judgment.
  • Prejudice – to have opinions without substantial facts to support your opinions, and to hold fast to your opinions even after contrary facts are known.
  • Social Power – refers to access to social, cultural, and economic resources and decision making.
  • Discrimination –prejudice + social power; when members of a more powerful social group act unjustly and unfairly toward members of a less powerful social group because of their membership to that particular group.

Basically…

  • Stereotypes = thoughts
  • Prejudice = feelings
  • Discrimination = behaviors

All are damaging to members of commonly oppressed groups (e.g., working class, Black/African Americans, people with disabilities, lesbian women, etc.) populations.

Identify if the statements below are an example of Stereotype, Prejudice, or Discrimination.

  1. Your mother tells you that all Asian people are bad drivers
  2. You overhear your roommate saying that he is disgusted by the idea of two men kissing
  3. At your workplace, you see a cartoon going around that contains graphic images and words that degrade women
  4. At a graduate school interview, you receive questions about your physical disabilities and health limitations
  5. Your friend tells you that she understands your dorm room is dirty, because it’s just how men are
  6. A classmate tells you that they just don’t like gay people

ANSWERS: 1. S, 2. P, 3. D, 4. D, 5. S, 6. P

Test Your Knowledge

Take this quiz to test your allyship knowledge on what you learned in this module.



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