Understanding Identity

Understanding Identity

“Identity” is a concept that we see many people discuss and share today. In this course, we will learn how identity is thought of, expressed, and talked about.

We will also explore historical and social contexts for how people with different identities have been treated when they were not in the majority. In this class, we will practice talking about our identities in all facets, like gender identity, race/ethnicity, cultural heritage, disability status, social class, and more.

We will learn proper terminology for these identities and understand how groups have been hurt in history and currently in systematic ways. We will also discuss how to make things better by understanding privilege and power.

Section 1: February 5-February 26

Section 2: April 12-May 3

Class Details

Class Duration:
Section 1
February 5-February 26

Section 2
April 12-May 3

Class Size:
2-8 participants

Age Range: 10-14

Enrollment: $120
Optional Feedback Add-On: $20

Identity is an important issue that many people are talking about today. Our identities connect us to our families, our communities, and to society in different ways. Understanding our own identities is the first step to understanding how differences can lead to oppression and exclusion. Knowing how to talk about identity in a positive, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and open-minded way is important for promoting justice. In this class, we will practice talking about our identities in all facets, like gender identity, race/ethnicity, cultural heritage, disability status, social class, and more. We will learn proper terminology for these identities and understand how groups have been hurt in history and currently in systematic ways.

We will also discuss how to make things better by understanding privilege and power. We will also explore the concept of “intersectionality,” which is an important concept today that helps us to understand how social differences and categories affect how people live their lives. We will discuss how this concept brings together gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIAA+ studies, and other ideas to better explain how the same thing in society can be very different across people. We will approach these issues from a factual, historical, and socially aware perspective, with a goal of understanding and cultivating sincerity, humility, and active listening.

This course will involve several activities and reflections/discussions about those activities, some reading of articles between sessions, and a final project demonstrating an understanding of identity and intersectionality. With an optional add-on, detailed feedback and guidance for revisions of the project to a final version is available.

This will be a highly interactive class that will touch on difficult and controversial topics. Students may feel uncomfortable or vulnerable at times. I will rigorously promote a ‘safe space’ where students feel safe being their authentic selves while respecting each others’ lived experiences and values.

Section 1

February 5-February 26- Live meetings Friday from 3-4pm Eastern/2-3pm Central/1-2pm Mountain/12-1pm Pacific

Section 2

April 12-May 3- Live meetings Monday from 1-2pm Eastern/12-1pm Central/11am-12pm Mountain/10-11am Pacific

Google Drive, Zoom required. Discord recommended. Webcam and Microphone optional. Headphones/earphones required (to prevent feedback).

Optional (depending on project): art supplies as appropriate. Relevant tools to create project and present (such as slide presentation program access if a slide presentation will be used). Access to research resources like online resources, journal articles, books that are relevant to chosen topic.

1-2 hours outside of class each week

Learners need to be able to respect the social norms of a “safe space”, be able to self-reflect and present opinions in respectful ways.

Learners will need to be able to read material that may challenge their assumptions or values and interact in a constructive way.

Learners need to be able to exercise open-mindedness when dealing with new ideas.

Learners will practice active listening, asking questions to understand and balancing personal lived experience with narrative from others.

Learners will gain access to commonly used standard, respectful terms that are used in discussions of social minorities and identity groups.

Learners will explore how history and social norms affect the lives of people today across many social categories.

To demonstrate these skills, learners will be expected to research a topic that will be analyzed through an intersectional lens that incorporates dimensions of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, class, etc.

Choice in personal disclosure of vulnerable identity categories (e.g. disability, queer status). Choice of optional add-on final project. Learners may choose whether or not to speak/use voice and whether or not to use a webcam. Learners may choose to interact using text in lieu of voice during class.

We will discuss sensitive and difficult topics like oppression (sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia), slavery, genocide (in non-graphic ways), colonization, invasion and historical groups involved in pro- and anti-social justice/civil rights causes. We will also discuss current situations and topics like police brutality and protests. We will discuss health issues related to minority groups, including HIV/AIDS.

See this teacher’s policies on things like refunds, missing class, and behavioral expectations. (Click here to see the policies.)

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