The Roles of Identity in Society Essay

Words: 2072
Pages: 9

The Roles of Identity in Society
Many would argue that social justice is being served when someone says “we are all the same under the skin”. We are not all the same under the skin. Within us are our own senses of identity, constructed by our familiar discourses, the physical environment and its embedded culture, and our individual differences. Our sense of identity accounts for our perceptions of ourselves and how we are positioned by others in terms of culture, tradition, rituals, race, family, religion and education (Allen, 2004). Our identities affect our life chances through our positions in society, the access we have to power, status, education, and wealth (Allen, 2004). Examining our own identities gives us insight into the
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I was born into an environment that set me up to be able to succeed at school. English is my first language and I speak it well enough to succeed at school and to be accepted into university. I am immersed in a society where the traditions, customs, practices and language of my heritage surround me and dominate all other identities. The practices and language used by my family were consistent with those of the schools I attended, where the autonomy and independence encouraged in Indigenous children like the narrator may have been misinterpreted and devalued as neglect (Malin, 1990).

I did, however, experience a brief time in my schooling that bore a stark contrast to that described above. When I was nine years old, I attended a school in Hawaii for twelve months and for the first time in my life was part of a minority group where my language, culture and experiences were not valued by the students or the teacher. I was never asked to share anything about myself or my life in Australia and was the victim of some ridicule from my peers because I lacked knowledge of, and a skill for playing, baseball. I was subjected to racist remarks about the colour of my skin and was never supported or really even acknowledged by my teacher. As a class, we were required to write a paper detailing the history of American presidents which I found extremely difficult. The exercise held no meaning for