The Privilege Wheel

For Wednesday’s class, we spent a good amount of time discussing the myth of the social identity, and the privilege wheel exercise raised some questions for me. For one, do certain aspects of one’s social identity have more power over the other? How much importance is placed on these aspects?

I personally believe that social identities are situational. To say that social identities are situational, I mean to say that when we are met with discrimination that threatens to diminish the standing of certain aspects of our identity, such as race, gender, sexuality, and religion more importance is placed on these identities. A change in environment, discrimination against those of our in group may heighten the importance of seemingly minor aspects of our social identity. For example, I do not define myself by my sexual orientation, particularly because the environment I live in is fairly liberal and accepting. I do not feel that I face discrimination everyday because of my sexual orientation. However, the homophobic backlash against the gay community brought on by the current Republican GOP election makes me place more importance on my sexual orientation. As the Republican candidates portray the gay community as immoral, sexually charged deviants and threaten to strip the community away of basic human rights, my identity as a gay male becomes more salient. Even though I don’t define myself by my sexuality, when faced with discrimination or threats against my basic civil rights and liberties, my sexual orientation becomes more important.

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Sterotypes, Generalization, Prejudice and, at best, Bad Manners

Recently, I suffered a sprained shoulder and after a doctor’s visit, I was referred to physical therapy for help in rebuilding strength in my right shoulder. Let me say this right from the start, I am in no way, shape, or form a malingerer. So on my first visit, everything was about evaluating and trying to gather as much information about the injury determine the best treatment regimen for me. By the second visit, one is supposed to have a plan of treatment tailored to his or her injury explained and agreed to. Well, I got more than that on the second visit.

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Is “Coming Out” beneficial to homosexual black men?

In class we have been heavily discussing stereotypes the past couple of weeks and although we have not limited the scope of our discussion to stigmatized groups, it seems those with the most salient stigmatizations inevitable surface in our discussions. This led me to wonder about people who had more than one stigmatized identity, and more specifically, identities that were in conflict with each other. The group I eventually settled on was homosexual black men. This group interested me because they had two stigmatized identities, but one could be hidden while the other was always present and for the majority of black males, clearly in conflict with the other. I was able to find two solid studies to explore my questions about this double stigmatized group, Good Cake by Tiffany Yvette Christian and Racial Differences in Social Support and Mental Health in Men with HIV Infection by D.G. Ostrow.

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