Streams

Open Phones: Individual Identity and Group Identity

Friday, October 05, 2007

Listeners call in and discuss how their group identities mix with their identity as an individuals.

Comments [16]

J Shin from New York

I am Korean American 1.5 generation make.

Individual and group identity are not discreet. You can not escape it, but that does not mean that you need to succumb to a popular perception (by majority or by your subculture) of what you should be.

I think, that the uniquely American desire for individuality is one of its greatest assets and also one of its greatest neurosis.

Oct. 05 2007 12:22 PM
IanJ

I'm sorry but I just heard one of the most ignorant comments on the air for this segment- A caller identifying as a white male saying that "intelligent" people can shed their labels and "bridge the gap".

I think what he might not understand is that by saying that someone has to shed their label, he's already putting people at a disadvantage for being different than him. He probably doesn't realize that he's doing it, but he definitely implied that if you aren't white or male you have to show "intelligence" to bring yourself up to his level.

That's exactly the problem that the original Clarence Thomas 60 Minutes clip was talking about. By asking him hamfisted questions like "How much of your life is determined by your race?" You're already implying that he is somehow inferior.

Oct. 05 2007 12:07 PM
Julie from Newark

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN! Thanks for another great year of intelligent radio.

Oct. 05 2007 12:00 PM
ab

It seems to me that first caller was really stuck in the mindset of the 60's generation.

I am a gen-xer and to me, you don't allow the outside to define YOU. i acknowledge people trying to push me into a certain box...but it doesn't effect me. I don't allow them to have that power. The first caller seems utterly defeatist in her attitude.

I feel like aperson..and individual a human being first and foremost and as for race..I feel bi-racial. Not just black. I have TWO heritages...not one...and no matter what ANYONE in this society thinks..they will never ever be able to change that.

That's not ignoring racism like she suggested...that's NOT allowing it to have power OVER you.

You won't find me agreeing with Clarence Thomas on anything else but I agree with him on that. He's 100% right.

Oct. 05 2007 11:59 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


I believe everyone should be an individual and not just define themselves as a series of overlapping associations.

Unfortunately, minorities in all countries (including white Americans abroad), because of the troubles they face from the majority, tend to define themselves as that minority. And unfortunately, problems are made worse and racism is perceived to be more intense because they assume that the majority has that same kind of race identity when in reality they don't.

Oct. 05 2007 11:56 AM
chestine from NY

PS as a woman i can't say enough admiring things about Anita Hill's empowered composure (nor express enough disgust with Clarence Thomas' obvious lack of command of his issues with empowered or any other women)- BUT the silver lining here might be some awareness for whites about how ignorant we are of other cultural possibilities - I heard Whoopi Goldberg got "her foot in it" when she had something to offer about the culture Michael Vick comes from - Brian maybe you would invite Whoopi on to let her say what she couldn't on the view - we all need this. I am a total animal rights person, don't eat meat, don't condone his behavior but we do need to see that his dog abuse doesn't happen in a vacuum

Oct. 05 2007 11:56 AM
AC from Queens

As most people, I do not identify my self by any of my labeled groups, although it is very much of who I am. This does not mean it is what defines me as a human being. The issue is what other people label you! This is the determining factor, it is how other define you, people in this country in a compulsory put you into a box, and Americans are obsessed with packing every one into categories and are unable to interact with you unless they know who you are and were your ancestors come from! Then they decide in what fashion to interact with you!!

Oct. 05 2007 11:55 AM
Dawn

A great book on the subject of identity and what defines anyone and how they are perceived: Amartya Sen's "Identity and Violence". If this topic interests you....check it out.

Oct. 05 2007 11:54 AM
Emily from Manhattan

My group defined at least the initial college years for me. As an American who had spent 7 years in Switzerland, I identified myself as being from Geneva, despite the fact that I had spent my early years in Illinois. It became an issue for my peers, who got very angry that I was "elitist" because I didn't want to be labeled as from Illinois. I didn't see it that way: to me, it was more that I had formed my identity and made friends as a member of the Geneva community, and that was where my heart was.

Equally, I never saw myself as "white" until I moved to the US. In Switzerland race wasn't really an issue - my peers and friends were of all colors, races and nationalities, and (at least within the international community) skin color wasn't considered as an identifier.

Oct. 05 2007 11:53 AM
Seth from NYC

can't call @ work.... I think it all depends upon the society in which you live.

Oct. 05 2007 11:51 AM
carolita from manhattan

Whatever I do, I'll be a woman this or a woman that. Sometimes this fact is repugnant to me.

Oct. 05 2007 11:51 AM
William Grother from Robbinsville, NJ

If I'm a member of a group, it's only because someone else defines me as such. I don't define myself by attributes I can't control (sex, race, etc.), nor by the things I do (programmer, writer, etc.), nor by the things I enjoy (baseball, reading, astronomy, etc.).

I bemoan the fact that this society gets hung up on placing people in boxes, as if that somehow makes them more real. Take any sampling of all the different types of people you see around you and strip them of their identifiers and you are left with Shakespeare's immortal phrase, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"

Oct. 05 2007 11:50 AM
ab

I am also bi-racial and do NOT define myself by race. I disagree with this caller.

You can acknowledge the way other people define you WITHOUT allowing them to define you. I am a man (human being) FIRST and foremost. I am BI-RACIAL next.

I don't care that some people in this country will try to force me to be defined as simply black...but I don't let them have that power. I am bi-racial and that is that.

Oct. 05 2007 11:50 AM
chestine from NY

well as a female i remember being told matter of factly by my many bros that they understood from the earliest that the world belongs to them, not to me.

Oct. 05 2007 11:48 AM
ab

whoops...wrong subject category

Oct. 05 2007 11:44 AM
ab

I'm the biggest Ghouliani hater and I totally agree with this guy.

It's ridiculous to say Ghouliani knew. What really should be addressed is, like th gues said, were they ready for this kind of disaster considering the prior 1993 attack.

Oct. 05 2007 11:43 AM

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