What groups are excluded, and what groups are doing the excluding?

M3A1 Discussion – Identity-through-Exclusion

 

Assignment 1: Identity-through-Exclusion

 

Discussion Question

 

After reading the materials for this module, reflect on the different ways that various groups in American history have tried to define the national identity in terms of exclusion—whether it be whites excluding non-whites, males excluding females, natives excluding immigrants, and so on.

 

For this discussion thread, think about ways that such a process of identity-through-exclusion persists today.

 

For instance, one of the most obvious examples of “identity-through-exclusion” is our national identity. We know we are Americans because we are not Canadians, or Germans, or Japanese, and so on. Within American culture, we often define our identity in similar ways. Some stores exclude non-members from shopping there, some clubs or organizations require certain traits (for example, being a certain age, a certain religion, a certain ethnicity), and some rights exclude groups (voting rights, citizenships rights, and so on). Such exclusions are sometimes rooted in monetary gain (like requiring shoppers to buy memberships), sometimes in efficiency (like preventing children from voting), and sometimes in other goals.

 

Can you think of any instances where Americans find or define their identity by excluding other groups? What groups are excluded, and what groups are doing the excluding? What does the excluding group hope to gain by preventing the other group from being counted as a member?

 

Submit your responses to the appropriate Discussion Area. Start reviewing and responding to your peers’ posts as early in the module as possible. Expand on your classmates’ posts to critically engage in the discussion. You can ask a question, post a comment, or add a point to expand the discussion. Write your initial response in 3–4 paragraphs.

 

By Friday, January 22, 2016, post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area. Through Wednesday, January 27, 2016, review and comment on at least two peers’ responses.

 

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