1. Tatum describes identity as “complex” and made up of many different factors. As you think of your own identity, what are the racial, gender, sexual, class, religious and other factors that have shaped it? Do you mainly focus on one or two aspects of your identity or do you think of your identity as “complex” in real-life, everyday interactions? Can you describe some examples of how various factors in your own identity interact with each other? Watch “The Complexity of Identity: Who am I? “
2. Have you observed or overheard any of Sue’s examples of microaggressions in your neighborhoods or schools or families? Have you experienced them yourself? How does the accumulation of multiple microaggressions, day after day, make the person experiencing them feel? Watch “Microaggressions in the Classroom.”
3. Harro’s model describes a “core” of the fear, ignorance, confusion, power or powerlessness that keeps people from breaking out of the cycle of their own socialization. Can you provide personal examples (similar to Harro’s “core”) that have made it difficult for you to challenge, break out of, or change the way you were socialized?
4. Kirk & Okazawa-Rey use the terms “micro”, “meso”, and “macro” to describe the different levels at which you experience your social identities. Have you been aware of your experience of your identity at these different levels – the personal or relationship level, the level of institutions (classes, sports teams, the place where you work, your neighborhood), and your sense of the overall society in which you live? Can you connect these levels while also thinking about how they play out differently (or the same way) for you?
5. Johnson quotes James Baldwin’s statement that “No one is white before he/she came to America. It took generations, and a vast amount of coercion, before this became a white country.” Can you identify one or two examples of immigrants who became “White” in the US? Were they considered “White” before becoming Americans? Can you describe how that process of “whitening” happened?
6. On the other hand, for immigrants who did not become “White” when they came to American, how were they identified racially? Had that been their racial identity before the process of immigration?
7. Here’s how Young defines oppression: “Its causes are embedded in unquestioned norms, habits, and symbols, in the assumptions underlying institutional rules and the collective consequences of following these rules … in short, the normal processes of everyday life.” What examples of “the normal processes of everyday life” have you experienced or observed that fit Young’s definition of oppression? Why do you think these normal processes of everyday life are not questioned or resisted?
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