How to Become Aware of Your Identity, Court-Style #3

Entering into a new situation often makes one hyper-aware of their identity and how it is similar and different to those around them. At first, I did not take a breath to reflect because I was so focused on familiarizing myself with the courthouse. After I had a chance to slow down and observe, I began to notice how my identity differed from those coming into the courtroom. First, I became aware of my gender. I am a female, and I was pleasantly surprised to be surrounded by powerful, intelligent women who were judges, attorneys, and recorders. I realized that, sadly, I expected to see more men in these roles. This made me feel stronger and gave me hope for my future, even though, as an intern, I felt like I was not always respected as much for being a quiet listener who also happened to be a woman. Second, I became aware of my class. This happened as I sat in on various court cases and I started to see that most people who end up in court are not as fortunate as I am. This frustrated me while also making me thankful for what I have and am able to do. It also prompted me to think how important it is to help people and create opportunities for those who may be born or fall into poverty so that they do not end up in court for committing crimes, for example. Third, I began to see that not everyone in Ann Arbor is liberal. As my supervisor told me, the court tends to be more conservative, and I have begun to see this in the decisions various judges make. As a liberal living in a liberal bubble, it is enlightening to be exposed to other logical but ideologically different points of view. All in all, this internship is helping me view various aspects of my identity in a new light.

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