ENG 123 – Identities Concepts

  • Identity
  • Personal identity
  • Social identity
  • Appiah Interview
    • Identities are lies that we use to group ourselves and each other
    • Multiple, overlapping identities
    • Community of strangers
  • Yoshino
    • Covering
    • True self/False Self
    • Assimilation
    • Conversation
  • Coates
    • The New People
    • The American Dream/Dreamers/The Other World
    • Racism/Race
    • The Body
    • Fear/Violence
    • Nakedness
    • Masculinity (Black and White)
    • Survival
    • Clash with the Street
    • The Language and Geography of the Neighborhoods
    • The Cognitive Load of the Streets/Toughness
    • The Laws of the School
    • Educated Children
    • Childhood
    • Curiosity/Compliance
    • Futures
    • The Relationship between Fear and the Dream
    • The Function of Reading-Writing-Questioning
    • Nonviolence and Violence
    • Malcolm X
    • The Missing Thing
  • Rose
    • Immigration
    • Work
    • Opportunity
    • Family
    • Home
    • Neighborhoods
    • Violence
    • Masculinity (White)
    • The Streets
    • Toughness (again)
    • The Glorious Fairy Tale
    • Reading and Writing
    • Education
    • South LA Veterans
    • Placement
    • Violence
    • Ethnicity
    • Average

Community Agreements

In this unit of the course, we will be exploring an important topic that many people find challenging to discuss, in part because our individual experiences may be considerably different from one anothers’.

So, I’d like to start by having us set a few community agreements, or “norms,” to help make the space feel safe for conversation and exploration.

The community agreements that we agree to are all things we are willing to honor for the duration of this session.

  • Speak from the “I” perspective: Avoid speaking for others by using “we,” “us,” or “them.”
  • Listen actively: Listen to understand, not to respond. Sometimes we are tempted to begin formulating what we want to say in response, instead of giving 100 percent of our focus to the speaker. So, let’s make sure we are listening 100 percent.
  • Speak in good faith and assume others are doing so as well.
  • Step up, step back: If you usually speak up often or you find yourself talking more than others, challenge yourself to lean in to listening and opening up space for others. If you don’t usually talk as much in groups and do a lot of your thinking and processing in your own head, know that we would love to hear your contributions, and challenge yourself to bring your voice forward in the conversation.
  • Respect silence: Don’t force yourself to fill silence. Silence can be an indication of thought and process.
  • Share, even if you don’t have the right words: Suspend judgment and allow others to be unpolished in their speaking. If you are unsure of their meaning, then ask for clarification.
  • Uphold confidentiality: Treat the candor of others as a gift. Assume that personal identities, experiences, and perspectives shared in this space are confidential unless you are given permission to use them.
  • Lean in to discomfort: Learning happens on the edge of our comfort zones. Push yourself to be open to new ideas and experiences even if they initially seem uncomfortable to you.

Why are We Surprised That White People Like Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Writing?

Journalist and lawyer Sally Kohn may have a better idea. In “Why White Women Should Read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Book,” an opinion piece featured in ELLE, Kohn didn’t discuss white fandom. But as a white woman, she urges other white women to pick up the memoir—especially those who may live in very homogeneous white communities.
“That Between the World and Me was explicitly not written for white people (like me) is exactly why we should read it. Because part of the ideology of white supremacy and racial hierarchy is the idea that everything white is better, and that people of color should learn from how white people dress and work and raise their kids and write. Want to subvert that subtle, implicit bias? Tweeting #BlackLivesMatter is good, but expanding your intellectual as well as actual interpersonal relationships is even better. And especially if you live in a very white part of America, a book is a great place to start.”