This website aims to be an online resource for people who are interested in learning more about social justice! "Identity Signs" is a common introductory social justice workshop that is usually done in person; however, I wanted to make the experience accessible to more people by using an online format.
Definition of Terms
This workshop asks you to choose between 6 different identities for each of the questions that are asked. Here are some definitions for those identities, as well as other terms that are used within the workshop. I've also provided links to my sources if you are interested in learning more!
A social construct that divides people into distinct groups based on perceived differences in characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time.
Some sociologists argue that ethnicity and race are different; race is defined as a social construct that divides people into distinct groups based on perceived physical differences while ethnicity divides people based on shared cultural patterns or nations of origin.
Race and ethnicity can be tricky to distinguish! For this activity, choose your answers based on what "race" means to you.
The social construction of gender categories that are based on perceived natural biological differences (sex). Gender also refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors a particular culture associates with a specific biological sex.
Sex and gender are different! Sex refers to a person’s biological status and is determined by several indicators, including sex chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs. Biological sex is often categorized as male, female, or intersex.
Gender identity is a sense of one’s self as trans*, genderqueer, woman, man, or some other identity, which may or may not correspond with the sex and gender one is assigned at birth.
Gender expression is how one expresses oneself, in terms of dress and/or behaviors. Society, and people that make up society characterize these expressions as "masculine,” “feminine,” or “androgynous.” Individuals may embody their gender in a multitude of ways and have terms beyond these to name their gender expression(s).
Sexuality is the way a person experiences and expresses themselves sexually. A person’s sexual orientation describes their sexual and emotional attractions. There are several different terms associated with sexuality and sexual orientation, including:
- Straight: a term for a female-identified person who is attracted to male-identified people or a male-identified person who is attracted to female-identified people.
- Gay: a term for people who are attracted to people of the same gender. Gay can refer also to a male-identified person who is attracted to other male-identified people.
- Lesbian: a term for a female-identified person who is attracted to other female-identified people.
- Bisexual: a term for people who are attracted to those of their same gender and to those of different genders.
- Pansexual: a term for people who are attracted to all genders.
- Asexual: a term for people who don’t experience sexual attraction to any gender, or do not feel desire for a sexual partner or partners. Some asexual individuals may still have romantic attractions.
- Aromantic: a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others.
- Queer: there are many definitions for this term, and it is meant to be defined fluidly! Queer generally means not straight, and can mean not fitting cultural norms around sexuality and/or gender identity/expression.
- Questioning: a term for people who are unsure of what their sexual orientation or gender identity is, and is still exploring what fits them best.
The length of time that a person has lived. Generally, people are treated in different ways based on their age. Ageism is any attitude, action, or institutional structure, which subordinates a person or group because of age or any assignment of roles in society purely on the basis of age. Ageism usually works against the young and the old and values individuals in their 30s to 50s.
The power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc. In contrast, disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities. Disability can also be thought of as a mismatch between an individual and their environment that limits their potential do perform certain actions.
The amount of money a person makes over the course of a year for services rendered or goods produced. Many people associate income with socioeconomic status, which is generally divided into three tiers: upper class, middle class, and lower class. Some other models also consider the upper middle class and working class as well.
Unearned access to resources (social power) only readily available to some people as a result of their social membership; benefits or advantages given to some individuals who are members of a certain group or class, often without their knowing it or asking for it.
People often become defensive when someone points out that they are privileged in some way. However, having privilege does not mean that you have never struggled or had difficulties in your life. It merely means that you have some advantages that others do not have that may make certain aspects of your life easier.