Identities: We All Have One (Or Several)

To begin, the article on voting in the 2008 election is an excellent example of people and their acceptance or discrimination towards a person based on one particular identity. This really relates to some of the ideas in the text, such as the idea that there are some people out there that are dedicated to keeping a particular status quo. There are some people that are still not yet open to the idea of having a president that is not white.

What I really enjoyed about the chapter are the concepts and ideas of Iris Marion Young. This woman is really on to something. Her two approaches to social difference are spot-on. The first approach is the idea of assimilation, where social differences cease to exist in terms of political significance. In particular, she talks about how everyone is of equal moral worth and that they all should have the right to participate in politics. However, this idea is more of a utopian concept. It requires everyone to be on equal playing field, when in reality her other concept of the ideal of diversity is more realistic. I also believe that our personal identities shape how we respond and interpret things, which the erasure of this would lead to unflavored life and governance. This diversity idea of Young’s is based on respect for people’s differences instead of getting rid of them. Some of this is based on how there are some things about different people that must be given special consideration and respect, such as how women and men can be mostly equal until you get to the concept of women and pregnancy.

It makes me rethink my idea of complete equality between men and women. Can women and men be completely equal when there are notable differences between what women and men do? I like t think that women and men can be completely equal, but I know that I can never become pregnant. Is that the deciding factor in determining if men and women are equal? I don’t know. I feel like this book is attempting to tell me that it is so and I am struggling to understand and respect the idea that men and women can never be equal. I see it more as that we are just going to be different, but equal. I know that there will always be people who are going to see the differences and immediately categorize women based on the fact that they can become pregnant and men cannot.

One thing that I take away from this chapter is the notion that we all have different sources of identity. I know it sounds so simple, but it really is one of the most important parts of this chapter and yet not completely exposed within the text. One identity does not completely define that person. Being an LGBT advocate does not accurately nor completely describe me. Being white, male, or educated does not describe me well, either. These are things that help us understand who we are, but they also limit ourselves to other people. It is better to listen to someone rather than read them, as I am sure you would know that person more.

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