Identity

Chapter six talks about identity politics and social movements.  The authors first talk about what identity is.  The book talks about how identity can fall under shared and common identities that include common social characteristics, gender, ethnicity, race, religion or even place.  The book states, “We can speak of identity of politics when group identity difference is a source of conflict or becomes the focus of efforts to bring about social change.”  The book also mentions that identity politics are an important foundation for many social movements.  Social movements are defined as groups of people pursuing shared goals that require social or political change according to the text.  The book gives examples of social movements as peace movements, labor movements, anti-globalization movements, women’s movements and environmental movements.  “These are all ‘collective enterprises to establish a new order of life.’”  In current events, we can see social movements and identity politics in Indiana.  We all have talked about the HJR-3 bill.  This relates to identity politics because it involves a group of people who are pursuing shared goals that require social or political change.  Now there is the debate about whether or not gay marriage should be recognized in the state of Indiana.

In the article we were given, we were asked to read about unhyphenated Americans and their role in the 2008 election towards Obama.  The article, “Barack Obama’s ‘‘American’’ Problem: Unhyphenated Americans in the 2008 Elections”, was written by Brian K. Arbour and Jeremey M. Teigen.  What is an unhyphenated American?  According to the article, an unhyphenated American are “whites who claimed an “American” or no ancestry” on the United States Census.  Over the ten-year period from 1990-2000, they had the largest increase in any ancestry group.  So who are unhyphenated Americans?  The article says that the general region is located in the Appalachia range and as it extends to the south, it also begins to move out west.  Some of those states include: West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, northern Alabama, and southern Missouri.  The authors then began to analyze the data and compare them by looking at maps.  The maps were of every United States County and showed the percentages of each subject based on the topic.  For example, they compared the areas that Americans put down on the census that they were of American descent or an unhyphenated American and then compared that of the areas that voted for Obama and Clinton in Democratic Primaries and Caucuses in 2008.  Other than North Dakota and Kansas, which I am guessing they were unable to find data for those two states, there was an interesting correlation.  The unhyphenated American’s region had the lowest vote share in the Democratic Primaries and Caucuses Among Obama and Clinton in 2008.  This makes sense because most of us know that the southern parts of United States and as well as the Appalachian areas tend to lean more conservative when it comes to political allegiance.

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