Social Identity Vs Personal Identity Essay

2123 words - 9 pages

Kevin Carrera
LSP 200
3/15/11

Social Identity Vs Personal Identity

In this paper I will discuss the differences and similarities between the two using three texts from June Jordan, Tim Wise, and Avery Gordon as well as give you my personal opinion about the topic. Social identity, in my opinion, is a bad thing as a whole because it doesn't take into account the experiences that any one person has, it just lumps them together. There are many factors that one needs to take into account when discussing these topics and I will try to explain them as best as I can. Social and personal Identity in today’s society is very much blurred, the individual person has his or her own identity ...view middle of the document...

Social identity in my opinion started back then and has been reinforced throughout the years and has become what it is today. Social identity is different from personal identity because social identity groups together people of race, class, gender, and status and depending of the status of these groups in society the can be either seen in a good or bad manner.
Wise says that because of where we are born into that’s what gives us our personal identity and to a certain degree I agree with him because there is no way one can control what status, or anything for that matter, be born to. I think in this article Wise explains that people that are born into privileged families not one that has material wealth but the history of the race one is born into. As an example he gives he talks about when his third grade teacher made them trace back their family tree, while the white kids could trace back far, whereas the black student would “only run head first into the crime of slavery and its role in their family background” (Wise 5).
The next article I will talk about is Avery Gordon’s, "Theory and Justice". In her article she talk about personal identity and one of her main topics is about complex personhood. I feel that this is a very important part in discussing personal identity “Complex personhood means that all people, albeit in specific forms, are beset by contradiction, remember and forget, and recognize and misrecognize themselves and others… complex personhood means that even those the society names ‘other’ are never that”(Gordon 100). What she says here is that even if society puts a label on you, such as being Hispanic that they are never what they seem. Personal identity is something that is very different from person to person, for example the life of a white middle class man is completely different from a middle class African American. The white middle class man has so many more resources that he can get a hold of because that the majority of people in the United States and thus has more opportunities to get good jobs. Each individual has their own experiences that they have that make them who they are and because of social identity they are seen as the group that they are associated with.
Gordon says that “the first dimension is that the power relations that characterize any society are never as transparently clear as the names we give to them suggest” (Gordon 100). What I think that she’s trying to say here is that because of these different powers that may or may not be in our control somewhat determine social identity. because in the past white men have predominately controlled everything and they have had the “power” for a very long time and this caused many African Americans to be sold as slaves, so while the white man has had slaves they were the ones with all the money and once the slaves were freed, they had to start from scratch, whereas the white man has already gained lots of wealth on the back of African...

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