My Social Identity Essay Example



In various readings and deeper looks throughout this course I was able to gain a clearer understanding of what my next steps are to addressing these privileges and disadvantages. Along with discovering how these privileges and disadvantages can be perceived and used by others. Being able to have this new information creates more comfort in knowing you’re not alone and also gains motivation within the criminal justice system to push for change.

As mentioned before, my social location entails that I am a half white and half African American straight woman, in the upper-middle class, I am an American citizen, that is able-bodied. In terms of how I see these social identities including both positive and negative I find them to be confusing in many ways. This is simply because I am the one picking what social locations I feel fit me, but my friends could potentially say vastly different ones or add additional ones onto what I feel is enough. The confusion stems mostly from the ability to change social locations depending on who or where I am thus creating a lack of trust in what I think to be the correct choices to describe myself.

Looking at society from a broader perspective we are able to notice “just societies.” These are what “…tend to instill a sense of stability, well-being, and satisfaction among members of society…” (Madfis, 2016, p. 1). In terms of my own understanding, it is easier to look at the ways even currently that there is severe imbalance between these areas and the growing lack of trust many have towards our society. A way we can easily note a major imbalance within society is “the fact that some African Americans have experienced great success in recent years does not mean that something akin to a racial caste system no longer exits” (Alexander, 2012, p. 21). It’s becoming more common to hear people try and dismiss others struggles and disadvantages within their social locations based on the success of few people. This creates additional hurdles for those trying to push for a “just society.”  The ways my understanding of a “just society” have been formed by my social identities and locations as well as my life history is, I am able to and willing to learn more. If I was not willing to learn or to understand how other people perceive and experience situations, then my privileges as well as disadvantages would not lead to a positive place for anyone but myself. 

Society has become more progressive in many aspects, but as positive steps are taken it is more “normal” for a slow down to occur after. Since my sexuality is straight, I am not able to understand on a personal level the disadvantages that many face, but I can educate myself. Exploitation which occurs “…through a steady process of the transfer of the results of the labor of one social group to benefit another” (Young, 2013, p. 37) can be noticed within how society responds to sexuality. Even when gay marriage was legalized the exploitation that occurred just from people being open with who they are and facing repercussions from those who disagree further pushes that we aren’t in a “just society." We can note that “family, religion, education, media, government policy, and even economics have an effect on sexuality and sexual arrangements” (Heasley & Crane, 2002, p. 3). Knowing that there are so many pieces that go into forming sexuality creates a stronger understanding to the many actions people take to live their lives how they see fit. 

The impact from gaining knowledge on the privileges and disadvantages present in society has motivated my goal of working within the criminal justice system in the future greatly. With each new topic or piece of information learned I became more inclined to continue on my current path to become involved in the criminal justice system. I continue with struggling to identify which area within the criminal justice system to focus on because more issues continue grabbing my attention. However, I do know I want to be involved in some capacity with change from the current system in place. What I mean by this is I am not wanting to be a part of a section that isn’t seeking change since it’s becoming more and more clear how the current criminal justice system needs serious changes. The more I am able to learn then the easier it will be to find what issue I am the most passionate about and that I want to work towards instead of trying to address everything in one title. I am more and more hopeful for the future of the criminal justice system just by seeing how many people in generation-z are passionate about change and kickstarting a better future for everyone, not just us.