So, I’ve started another class for the semester, EOL 199: Paraprofessional Staff Training. The class is basically an introduction to social identity, social justice and diversity, particularly from the perspective of a residence hall community.
The class kicked off this past Sunday with an all-day retreat, where I met the rest of my class and our facilitators. ‘Cause we’re ResLife and cool like that, we played a bunch of icebreakers and got to know each other pretty well. A majority of the day, however, was spent with Dr. Maura Cullen, a social justice educator. Her talk and our subsequent discussion in class this week have been bouncing around in my head for a bit.
So often, who we are puts us “in” or “out.” It’s kind of frightening how pervasive these things are. We did an activity that really played around with how although we may feel the desire to be more inclusive or open, “groupthink” can trap us in dangerous ideologies.
As a middle-class, temporarily able-bodied, white male from a Christian background, I’m often (though not always) in the majority, or at least the privileged, group when considering social identity. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s how desperately I need to look beyond my “clumps” of people and set aside my privilege for the sake of a more equitable society.
I’m excited to see where this class goes. I’ve struggled in the past with learning to value all aspects of my social identity. I’m also excited to continue to validate and understand others’ identities better.