At a recent residential life meeting, we were asked to fill out two sheets of paper. On the first was a circle that asked about my personal traits- the type of books I enjoy reading, the words I would use to describe myself, etc. On the second was a circle that asked about my social identity- the class I think I fall into, the race or ethnicity with which I identify most, the role of gender, etc.
Once we filled out these circles we were asked to share them with members of our group. Many of my fellow resident assistants had no trouble sharing their personality wheel. Most agreed that they would want to be seen through the lens of their personal wheel, which is understandable.
However, when the time came to discussing the social wheel, many of my fellow staff members had trouble talking about the matter, and/or did not want to be associated with the features on the social wheel. I in particular found my fellow co-workers unwillingness to identify with their social wheel very upsetting because I identify so closely with my social identity that it spills over into my personal traits.
There is not one day that goes by when I do not identify with being a Hispanic female from a low income family! Those two features of my social wheel are so deeply engrained in my life that they have become borderline personal traits. And so, to hear my fellow staff members be so dismissive about their social identity was quite infuriating.
As a student at BU, income disparity between students is quite evident, and the majority of students and other BU affiliates are unwilling to discuss such important matters. And so, when we were given the opportunity to bring these issues to surface at my recent residential campus meeting, the fact that my fellow peers were so quick to shoot down the importance of the social wheel was quite upsetting.