During a youth studies class a week ago, the teacher asked us all, “What are your identities? How do they impact each other and others? What is your principle in life?” That got me thinking! I’ll give it a go, see what I come up with.
Some of my identities are white, deaf, heterosexual and a whole range of other identities that I’m not sure how to explain but they’re there. I am a straight White man in a country that gives so much privilege to that package of identities. I have privileges over “minorities”(do not like using that word) such as women, people of color, people with different sexual orientations, et cetera. I do have the knowledge that I won’t experience things that minorities might.
However, I am a Deaf person who has experienced oppression and I live in a world where my “kind” that I identify myself as a part of, is a minority. Also, I have a complex set of identities that compete with each other so the political, environmental, educational cultures along with personal and community cultures do have a big influence over me and how I interact with others. Also, I do think what I just said applies to everyone. We all have privileges and no privileges at the same time. I think that has an effect on how we’d interact with other people and in how we’d do life. We have had things to deal with and we still come together to discuss our varying perspectives with others.
I’d say every identity would have their own challenges to overcome because every identity faces the challenge of how to approach anyone when you are in a position of power. I think that’d require a principle that is adaptable to changing situations and the WIDE range of people that we’ve already met and will met. One challenge that I do face is myself. I say that because I sometimes can be selfish, arrogant, angry, prone to letting my fears control me and I internalize my emotions so much that I end up feeling like a silent robot who feels trapped in its own handmade prison. I’m just plainly a person who definitely does feel conflicted with myself due to traumatic experiences that I’ve never honestly dealt with. Some day, I will feel peace with myself. However that is a long way off, so long that it’s honestly frustrating and sad to me to realize that.
Anyways, my principle is , “My purpose would be a person who teaches people that they are capable of changing AND controlling their own worlds. I will listen and make sure that I show that I am someone who cares and views all people equally. No one is above each other.We already have enough shit to deal with, we do not need to be judged and criticized for little things. I will ensure that I do not let myself become someone who just is distant. I will learn how to show that I am radical in how I live. Being consciously radical is so important so I don’t get complacent in life itself! LOVE is the biggest thing I can honestly give and I’d seriously try to express that at all times!”
Also, I’d add that my experiences in my life has had a huge impact on my principle. My life experiences as a Deaf person from a strongly bonded family with a ridiculously unique group of friends have had made me a person who is capable of sticking to my principles in life itself. I really do appreciate them. They’re what makes me feel warm and loved and know that I’m a worthy person who is capable of taking on the challenges that life offers! Not just that but I’ve always thought that being part of the deaf community has made me see how hard the world can be against people who have no power.
That gives me a perspective that everyone is worth listening to and letting them having power over what they do in life is such an important thing! That I’m willing and that I have to listen no matter how different that person might be. I’m willing to accept who they are, no matter what life has given them! I’d bring that principle to everywhere and everyone. Second thing would be to write up my principle and leave it where it’d be visible for everyone to see.
No matter what it’d risk me in my life, I can’t quit on that principle. Ever! I have to be relentless with that approach to life because it is important to me to show the world that I’m not just a person who is using the privileges that I was given just for myself and to let the status quo go on to destroy people!
Now, I have a question: What is your principle in life? Good luck! :)