Collier, M. J., “Communication Competence Problematics in Ethnic Friendships,” Communication Monographs 63, no. 4 (1996): 318. We are urged to defend our own identities and schooled to respect those of others. It is from these cultural influences that our identities are formed. My identity as a US American became very salient for me for the first time in my life when I studied abroad in Sweden. For example, a white person may take notice that a person of color was elected to a prominent office. Individuals may attempt to assimilate into the dominant culture by changing their appearance, their mannerisms, the way they talk, or even their name. There are other important identities that could be discussed, like religion, age, nationality, and class. Ascribed identities Identities that are placed on us by others. In fact, we also place people into in-groups and out-groups based on the similarities and differences we perceive. Personal identities may change often as people have new experiences and develop new interests and hobbies. Heterosexual people with gay family members or friends may join the group PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) as a part of the redefinition and/or integration stage of their dominant identity development. Pledging a fraternity or sorority is an example of a social identity. The chapter begins with an overview of the three core elements that make up your identity. Sometimes people ascribe an identity to someone else based on stereotypes. Experts recommend that a company put a staff person in charge of diversity efforts, and some businesses have gone as far as appointing a “chief diversity officer” (Cullen, 2007). This chapter is all about helping you to uncover your interpersonal communication preferences. Katie Anderson June 2, 2010 at 9:04 PM. Whenever we encounter someone, we notice similarities and differences. The final stage of dominant identity formation is integration. Cultural identities are components of self based on socially constructed categories that teach us a way of being and include expectations for our thoughts and behaviors. We all have certain ascribed statuses with us. Judith N. Martin and Thomas K. Nakayama, Intercultural Communication in Contexts, 5th ed. The first ascribed identity I would like to address is smart, I think that the groups that are responsible for giving me this identity would be my teachers, parents, and fellow students. Lazy but I've also heard im very nice, easy to talk to, down to earth, creative, genuine etc.. Avowed- I think im very clean, smart, creative, while i do care about appearance a great deal (especially my own) I know when to quit, nice, helpful, attractive, and skillful. Have you ever participated in any diversity training? While the stages in this model help us understand how many people experience their identities, identity development is complex, and there may be variations. Sometimes people ascribe an identity to someone else based on stereotypes. But ascribed and avowed identities can match up. Summarize nondominant and dominant identity development. Each of us has personal, social, and cultural identities. Yep, G. A., “My Three Cultures: Navigating the Multicultural Identity Landscape,” in Intercultural Communication: Experiences and Contexts, eds. Our identities make up an important part of our self-concept and can be broken down into three main categories: personal, social, and cultural identities (see Table 8.1 “Personal, Social, and Cultural Identities”). Are there any that relate? Culture and identity are complex. The ways of being and the social expectations for behavior within cultural identities do change over time, but what separates them from most social identities is their historical roots (Collier, M. J., 1996). There’s that guilt. Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies. In either case, many people never progress from this stage. A system of beliefs and practices that produces a physical and mental standard that is projected as normal for a human being and labels deviations from it abnormal. He notes repressing his Chinese identity as an adolescent living in Peru and then later embracing his Chinese identity and learning about his family history while in college in the United States. A male participant in a research project on identity said the following about redefining his male identity: I don’t want to assert my maleness the same way that maleness is asserted all around us all the time. However, the overall trend is that difference based on cultural groups has been institutionalized, and exceptions do not change this fact. Sociologists understand status as having two types: achieved and ascribed. For the Africans, their visitor’s identity as American is likely more salient than her identity as someone of African descent. We may literally have a parent or friend tell us what it means to be a man or a woman. Discuss the differences between ascribed and achieved statuses. While both are important, it is often the differences that are highlighted and that contribute to communication troubles. Getting integrated: Review the section that explains why difference matters. The 2010 Census shows that the Hispanic and Latino/a populations in the United States are now the second largest group in the country, having grown 43 percent since the last census in 2000 (Saenz, 2011). Ask yourself the question “Who am I?” Recall from our earlier discussion of self-concept that we develop a sense of who we are based on what is reflected back on us from other people. I don’t want to contribute to sexism. Those experiencing ... resources utilized by people who are homeless to cope with the labeling of a homeless identity and to redefine their identities. Because of this lack of recognition of oppression, members of dominant groups may minimize, dismiss, or question the experiences of nondominant groups and view them as “complainers” or “whiners.” Recall from our earlier discussion of identity formation that people with dominant identities may stay in the unexamined or acceptance stages for a long time. That is, we find ourselves in the reflections of the context that we are in, rather than simply in the privacy of our own internal, introspective thoughts. For example, I consider myself a puzzle lover, and you may identify as a fan of hip-hop music. Staying in this stage may indicate a lack of critical thinking if a person endorses the values of the nondominant group without question. It is a position that is neither earned nor chosen but assigned. & Kotthoff, H., 2009). Culture is “negotiated,” and as we will learn later in this chapter, culture is dynamic, and cultural changes can be traced and analyzed to better understand why our society is the way it is. Although there may still be residual anger from the discrimination and prejudice they have faced, they may direct this energy into positive outlets such as working to end discrimination for their own or other groups. Jason Riedy – Atlanta Pride Festival parade – CC BY 2.0. Social identities do not change as often because they take more time to develop, as you must become interpersonally invested. In this section, we’ll explore how the cultural identities of race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability have been constructed in the United States and how communication relates to those identities. For example, I have had students who struggle to see that they are in this stage say things like “I know that racism exists, but my parents taught me to be a good person and see everyone as equal.” While this is admirable, seeing everyone as equal doesn’t make it so. Identities that we claim for ourselves. Any of these identity types can be ascribed or avowed. There are things that I see myself as many things that others would probably agree that I am. We use social categories like black, white, Australian, Christian, Muslim, student, and bus driver because they are useful. Moises, a Chicano man interviewed in a research project about identities, narrated how he changed his “Mexican sounding” name to Moses, which was easier for his middle-school classmates and teachers to say (Jones Jr., 2009). Martin, J. N., and Thomas K. Nakayama, Intercultural Communication in Contexts, 5th ed. They realize that they can claim their dominant identity as heterosexual, able-bodied, male, white, and so on, and perform their identity in ways that counter norms. As we will discuss later, privilege and disadvantage, like similarity and difference, are not “all or nothing.” No two people are completely different or completely similar, and no one person is completely privileged or completely disadvantaged. When we first join a social media platform, we pick and choose the parts of our identities to share in our profiles and postings, and if we do not receive the comments and “likes” that we are looking for, we revise. Dominant identity development consists of five stages (Martin & Nakayama, 2010). The US Office of Personnel Management offers many good guidelines for conducting diversity training: create learning objectives related to the mission of the organization, use tested and appropriate training methods and materials, provide information about course content and expectations to employees ahead of training, provide the training in a supportive and noncoercive environment, use only experienced and qualified instructors, and monitor/evaluate training and revise as needed (US Office of Personnel Management, 2011). In these situations, it is more likely that stereotypes and prejudice will influence our communication. There are other important identities that could be discussed, like religion, age, nationality, and class. One’s avowed identity is the one that one claims (avows) in an interaction. The workplace is one context where changing demographics has become increasingly important. Notes Cultural and Identity:-Ascribed words to describe a person from race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexuallity, gender, ability, social class, and age like a label someone places on you like saying your “white or old male”.-Culture is “negotiated,” and culture is dynamic, and cultural changes can be traced and analyzed to better understand why our society is the way it is. Social identities differ from personal identities because they are externally organized through membership. These positions are occupied regardless of efforts or desire. We can see from this example that our ascribed and avowed identities change over the course of our lives, and sometimes they match up and sometimes not. People in the redefinition stage revise negative views of their identity held in the previous stage and begin to acknowledge their privilege and try to use the power they are granted to work for social justice. He also identified as white instead of Mexican American or Chicano because he saw how his teachers treated the other kids with “brown skin.” Additionally, some gay or lesbian people in this stage of identity development may try to “act straight.” In either case, some people move to the next stage, resistance and separation, when they realize that despite their efforts they are still perceived as different by and not included in the dominant group. Vedantam, S., “Most Diversity Training Ineffective, Study Finds,” The Washington Post, January 20, 2008, accessed October 5, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/19/AR2008011901899_pf.html. Our parents, friends, teachers, and the media help shape our identities. The intensity with which we avow an identity also changes based on context. Negotiation of identities in communication entails affirming the identities we want others to recognize in us and ascription of identities we mutually assign to each other in communication. This stage is reached when redefinition is complete and people can integrate their dominant identity into all aspects of their life, finding opportunities to educate others about privilege while also being a responsive ally to people in nondominant identities. This is because you may think that you should be a person who is thought by others, or you may tell others who you are through your attitude, and people would agree with that image. Additionally, legal and social changes have created a more open environment for sexual minorities and people with disabilities. (Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2010), 166. Unpacking the definition, we can see that culture shouldn’t be conceptualized as stable and unchanging. Culture is an ongoing negotiation of learned patterns of beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors. But it’s important to acknowledge that becoming aware of your white privilege, for instance, doesn’t mean that every person of color is going to want to accept you as an ally, so retreating to them may not be the most productive move. To extend the previous example, there has been a movement in recent years to reclaim the label nerd and turn it into a positive, and a nerd subculture has been growing in popularity. Obviously one can change nationality by becoming a citizen of another country, although most people do not. Read Status We need to go beyond the definition of social status and understand that our standing in society is determined by the statuses we… When we study interpersonal communication, we often focus on external things like the audience or environment. For example, think of how ways of being and acting have changed for African Americans since the civil rights movement. Avowed identities. Spreckels, J. and Helga Kotthoff, “Communicating Identity in Intercultural Communication,” in Handbook of Intercultural Communication, eds. Personal identities include the components of self that are primarily intrapersonal and connected to our life experiences. We are acculturated into our various cultural identities in obvious and less obvious ways. There are also other contributing factors such as our years of adolescence , the basic human need of wanting to belong and maturing; all play an equally important part in the forming of our character and who we … There is that dynamic of recognizing ourselves when we recognize others. I think that you wrote this to a tee it is because people judge others and give others ascribed identities that we have problems like the ones you mentioned. US Office of Personnel Management, “Guidelines for Conducting Diversity Training,” Training and Development Policy, accessed October 16, 2011, http://www.opm.gov/hrd/lead/policy/divers97.asp#PART%20B. Firstly, we get a glimpse of how when certain identities are valued in technologically mediated encounters and there is no other way of establishing those identities, there is some urgency in ‘unmasking’ the other interlocutor before the chat proceeds further on any other footing. We are not who other people think we are. Ascribed Identities Child, Teacher, Student, Heterosexual, Upper Class, Weak My parents have ascribed the identity of child to me. Ascribed- I heard people think im very pretty, but conceited, and shallow. My photographs, taken on my smartphone, are part of the process of understanding my present self. Ascribed status is a term used in sociology that refers to the social status a person is assigned at birth or assumed involuntarily later in life. For example, if an interest in online video games leads someone to become a member of a MMORPG, or a massively multiplayer online role-playing game community, that personal identity has led to a social identity that is now interpersonal and more entrenched. We are often who we think other people think we are. For your cultural identities, which ones are dominant and which ones are nondominant? It’s important to remember that these distinctions are being made at the societal level, not the individual level. Also, a young African American man may question his teachers or parents about the value of what he’s learning during Black History Month. Shipman, T., “Nerds Get Their Revenge as at Last It’s Hip to Be Square,” The Sunday Telegraph, July 22, 2007, 35. Government, schools, and employers often ask an individual to claim a racial identity group or simply ascribe one to an individual based on visual perception. Which of the guidelines listed did your training do well or poorly on? Knowing why and how this came to be and how to navigate our increasingly diverse society can make us more competent communicators. Dominant identities historically had and currently have more resources and influence, while nondominant identities historically had and currently have less resources and influence. Any of these identity types can be ascribed or avowed. Social identity is the part of the self that is defined by one’s group memberships.Social identity theory, which was formulated by social psychologist Henri Tajfel and John Turner in the 1970s, describes the conditions under which social identity becomes more important than one’s identity as an individual. Identities that historically had and currently have less resources and influence. You may be wondering how some groups came to be dominant and others nondominant. Moises, the Chicano man I mentioned earlier, now works to support the Chicano community in his city and also has actively supported gay rights and women’s rights. Being stuck in these stages makes it much more difficult to value difference. The main nondominant groups must face various forms of institutionalized discrimination, including racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism. Many organizations are striving to comply with changing laws by implementing policies aimed at creating equal access and opportunity. We must avoid the temptation to think of our identities as constant. An ascribed identity is one that we give to someone else. Jones Jr., R. G., “Communicating Queer Identities through Personal Narrative and Intersectional Reflexivity” (PhD diss., University of Denver, 2009), 130–32. Cullen, L. T., “Employee Diversity Training Doesn’t Work,” Time, April 26, 2007, accessed October 5, 2011, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1615183,00.html. nothing you can say trumps my identity as an adopted son of God who is my perfect Father and best friend. Hence, these cannot be changed for we are born with it. Difference matters because people are treated differently based on their identities and demographics and patterns of interaction are changing. Explain why difference matters in the study of culture and identity. These changes directly affect our interpersonal relationships. Some organizations are going further than legal compliance to try to create inclusive climates where diversity is valued because of the interpersonal and economic benefits it has the potential to produce. While moving to this step is a marked improvement in regards to becoming a more aware and socially just person, getting stuck in the resistance stage isn’t productive, because people are often retreating rather than trying to address injustice. To the extent that we identify ourselves, for example, as Spanish, an Inter Milan supporter, a socialist, a psychologist, etc., particular social norms become relevant to action and cognition when those identities are salient in specific contexts. If they do, it’s usually because of repeated encounters with individuals or situations that challenge their acceptance of the status quo, such as befriending someone from a nondominant group or taking a course related to culture. Non dominant identities. Members of nondominant groups may have difficulty valuing difference due to negative experiences with the dominant group, such as not having their experiences validated. Quinn Dombrowski – ASL interpreter – CC BY-SA 2.0. If so, how? Unlike people with a nondominant identity who usually have to acknowledge the positioning of their identity due to discrimination and prejudice they encounter, people with dominant identities may stay in the unexamined stage for a long time. Many companies conduct mandatory diversity training based on a belief that they will be in a better position in court if a lawsuit is brought against them. . are those that we claim for ourselves. Ascribed identities are personal, social, or cultural identities that are placed on us by others, while avowed identities are those that we claim for ourselves (Martin & Nakayama, 2010). Other social identities are personally claimed but Mean. So do I. I also question the practice of youth who take selfies and do sexting. Helga Kotthoff and Helen Spencer-Oatey (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2009), 415–19. How are we seen and how do we see in the new and young digital world as we age? Throughout modern history, cultural and social influences have established dominant and nondominant groups (Allen, 2011). We don’t only see similarities and differences on an individual level. Further, they may find it difficult to acknowledge that not being aware of this oppression is due to privilege associated with their dominant identities. (Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2010), 166. Whether we like it or not, each one of us has our own position in society, a rank in the social hierarchy that has been in existence since times immemorial. There is also deviation from and resistance to those patterns by individuals and subgroups within a culture, which is why cultural patterns change over time. Nondominant identity formation may include a person moving from unawareness of the importance of their identities, to adopting the values of dominant society, to separating from dominant society, to integrating components of identities. 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