Multiple Identities and ‘Identity Threat’
After sharing our Key Principles of educating for pluralism and introducing our Learning Framework, we asked participants to engage in two interactive activities to connect the concepts of identity and pluralism, and link these concepts to their own contexts. Both activities resonated with participants and evoked good discussion. The first activity focused on examining the multiple identities we each hold and the concept of ‘identity threat’ – what happens when one aspect of your identity is challenged or when you feel you have to give up a part of yourself. Several people remarked that our identities evolve and change throughout our lives, and that to understand and engage with people who are different from us, we first need to reflect on and understand who we are as individuals.
For the second activity, we asked participants to answer 20 questions from our “Inclusion/Exclusion Inventory”. This ‘inventory’ encourages us to reflect on the ways that we may have been excluded, discriminated or not represented in different aspects of our lives – whether economically, politically, socially, religiously, sexually/from a gender perspective, etc. A few participants commented that they were not able to express their political views openly where they live, while others said that this exercise made them recognize their privilege.
We ended the presentation with a Q&A session, which covered questions, such as: What do I do if I feel discriminated against by my own family? How do I talk about political issues in the classroom when it’s illegal and/or frowned upon by the administration and/or parents? How do I talk to my institution about pluralism issues?