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Class 2: Micro, Meso, and Macro Levels of Identity Formulation + Cult

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Laura Danforth

on 28 January 2016

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Transcript of Class 2: Micro, Meso, and Macro Levels of Identity Formulation + Cult

week 2: Micro, Meso, and Macro Levels of Identity Formulation + Cultural lens/socialization
In-Class Metacognitive Planning #1 on Thursday (Bring your laptops!)
Social Categories, Classifications, and Structural Inequality: Macro and Global Levels
Why do we classify/label human beings?
What is social construction?
Assigning specific
using history, politics, and culture
justify the conquest, colonization, domination, and exploitation
of entire groups of people.
The Hierarchy of Advantage
"EX: While White people descended from European immigrants to this country, the advantages of being White are not always fully recognized or acknowleged. As a result, White people in the U.S. tend to think of all identities as equal: “Im Italian American, you’re Polish American. I’m Irish-American. You’re African American.”
Being Myself in the Micro Level
Who/What is in the micro level?
Read Syllabus on Canvas and look at the instructions for the Comfort Zone Paper
Crucial Life Events happen here
Kindergarten teacher tells Vietnamese student to “only speak English.”
White woman in professional setting sees men getting promoted over her.
Date rape survivor feels power of connection with other survivors.
Identity Formulation in the micro system = LIFELONG ENDEAVOR marked in significant ways
African American woman changing her name from Susan to Aisha
Asian Americans only speaking English in their home
Males refusing to adhere to traditional male stereotypes
Meso Level: Community Recognition, Expectations, and Interactions
Who/What is in the Meso Level?
Here is where people often feel most complexities from having multiple identities
"Where are you from?" ... "No, but where are you really from?"
"Who are your real parents?"
Community level is where INDIVIDUAL identities are tested against GROUP standards
"You say you're Latina. Why dont you speak Spanish?"
"You're almost 30. When are you gonna have kids?"
"Omg, this phone is SO ghetto..."
These experiences either AFFIRM identities/belonging to the group, OR highlight inconsistencies in our own identities.
In our communities, much attention is paid to the MOST VISIBLE sign of our identity (anyone know what this is?)
Feeling texture of someone's hair
"wait, where do you live...?"
Commonly brought up to those who dont match characteristics of dominant categories.
"So, are you here on an athletic scholarship?"
"Mrs. Laura, you must be rich."

To assign power, status, and privilege
To distinguish who is included and excluded from groups
To maintain a particular type of social order
All of which is a social construction!
EX: Native Americans categorized as brutal, uncivilized, ungovernable savages in the writings of early colonizers on this continent.
...which justified genocide of Native Americans by White settlers.
NOW, Native Americans are thought of as vanishing, already wiped out, thereby rationalizing neglect by dominant culture
"assumed equivalence"
"ignores the very big differences between individualist identity and socially enforced and imposed identity"
"We are all immigrants."
"My grandfather is German."
"I am of Irish Decent, so...."
"The advantages of being WHITE are not always fully acknowledged when you sweep everyone under the umbrella of immigration."
The same can be said for:
"At my job, I have to work just as hard or harder than women because of Affirmative Action..."
"... I know im middle class, but I worked my butt off to get that scholarship. I deserve it."
"Theres one race. The human race."
"We need safe spaces for white students."
"Muslim, Christian, we are all persecuted for our beliefs."
Maintaining Systems of Structural Inequality: How to Objectify and Dehumanize subordinated people

1.) Use values/characteristics/features of dominant group as neutral standard from which others should be evaluated

2.) Use terms that distinguish subordinate from dominant groups

3.) Stereotype, Stereotype, Stereotype
4.) Appropriate their identities

5.) Exoticize and Romanticize them

Differences between appropriation and assimilation
Assimilation = A series of cultural exchanges where:

1.) Everyone involved is an active participant

2.) We are
celebrating each other
, not erasing eachother

3.) We were invited by eachother to participate in customs and
do so to LEARN, not only because we thought the looked/sounded cool

We arent gaining economic/social capital
from partcipating in this culture

In the case of assimilation, a person has no option whether or not they want to participate in the dominant culture, because not participating means you will be rejected by society.

Appropriation = Adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group, especially if the adoption is of an oppressed people’s cultural elements by members of the dominant culture.

When this is done, the
imitator, "who does not experience that oppression is able to 'play,'
temporarily, an '
exotic' other, without experiencing any of the daily discriminations faced by other cultures

Appropriation may eventually lead to the
appropriating group being seen as the new face of said cultural practices
. As oppressed peoples’ cultures are mimicked by the dominant culture,
observers may begin to falsely associate certain cultural practices with the mimicker, and not with the people who originated them
. This is often seen in the use by cultural outsiders of a minority, oppressed culture’s symbols or other cultural elements, such as
music, dance, spiritual ceremonies, modes of dress, speech and social behavior,
among other cultural expressions.
"...while simultaneously devaluing and silencing the bodies, opinions and voices of the oppressed culture."
1.) What have been your "aha" moments in your own identity formulation?
2.) Have you ever inadvertantly helped maintain systems of structural inequality?
3.) Have you ever romanticized/exoticized a target group?
Student Contracts due today
"I know it when I see it." -Justice Stewart
Full transcript