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What is Identity: Issues and Benefits

What is identity

Identity is how you are seen by others and how you see yourself. Identity refers to any group that you belong to and can be distributed into many different categories. Several common identifying characteristics are race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion/spirituality, nationality, and socioeconomic status. Each of these categories intersect and deciding which group you belong to helps you determine your identity because it places you in a specific group that you can identify with. For example, in the category of race there  are African Americans or Black, Asian, European American or White, Native Americans etc. Identity is not limited to outward appearances as it can also refer to things like personality and the way you act. It's not only a physical, but also a mental and spiritual aspect.

How does Identity Harm You

Identity could harm you in multiple ways, and depending on the group you belong to, you can be subjected to stereotyping, acts of discrimination, and even used or abused by others.Depending on your physical identity—what you look like and/or categorize as—people may build up an idea of who you are, based on stereotypes, and this will impact how they see you regardless of how you actually are. For example, a typical gender stereotype is that if you are a boy, you must like the colors blue or green but some boys don’t like that color. Therefore, they may be forced to conform to unnecessary expectations and norms, on the basis of a stereotype or may experience unfavorable treatment for having alternate interests such as liking what is considered a more feminine color (like pink).
Also you can be discriminated against due to your identity. Even though this is mainly directed towards gender, race, ethnicity and religion, it can happen to all different types of identity categories. Some people may think that their group is superior to other identities so they treat them differently or with prejudice due to the fact. For example,  a male boss may pay a female employee less than the male equivalent,  simply because she is not of the same gender as him and he feels that she is below him. This is discrimination because the boss is treating someone unjustly on the basis that they are different.

How does Identity benefit You

Identity can be beneficial to you in many ways too. When it comes to privacy matters, it can be used to pinpoint you specifically.Things that belong to you will only be designated to you and your distinction. Consider how when you order something, identification may be required so they know that the order should be sent to you specifically.
Identity can aid in finding peers that are similar to you. When you find others with similar interests, troubles and lifestyles , you can connect more with them and become better friends. It may help you determine important things such as what group of friends you want to be around and will feel the most comfortable and safe speaking and sharing opinions with. To illustrate, if you are in a group with African Americans and you are an African American yourself, you can reach out and connect with each other on the premise of kindred life experiences.
Learning about other people’s identity is very important. Through learning about other people’s identity you can learn a lot about the person and their preferences and you will find a connection between one another strengthening your relationship. If people with different identities learn more about each other they will learn to respect each other and their lifestyles and connect more with one another. It is important to recognize both how our differences in identities can bring us together, as well as sometimes divide us.
Someone’s identity can help you learn more about them without having to meet them. By knowing their specification, you may determine certain aspects such as their physical and mental identity, their character, temperament, what they like and more. While identities may tell you certain things about a person and can be useful, they can never tell us everything so it is important to be as aware as possible to not let biases and other influences impact how you view an individual. This is why it is best to meet the person to make a personal opinion on them.

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