Before going to college I had never really thought about my identities. I knew that they were parts of me, but I hadn’t thought about the things that come with identities such as privilege and oppression. It was when I arrived at college that I started to think about all of these things.
It’s important that I recognize the identities that put me at risk for oppression. I’m a women of color who is a child of immigrants. While I had already known this, once I arrived at the University of Michigan (a predominately white school) I realized how different that made me. I joked about never before having seen so many white people together at one place, but the reality of the matter is that higher education is a system made for white people.
It’s important that I also acknowledge identities where I have privilege. As a cisgender women I have never been oppressed because of my gender, while transgender, gender fluid, and gender non-conforming people have. As a Christian I personally haven’t suffered religious oppression as Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and all other non-Christians groups have. As someone who does not have a physical disability, I have never undergone ableism as people with a disability have. As a U.S. citizen I have never suffered nationalism as non U.S. citizens have. As a heterosexual I haven’t undergone heterosexism as the LGBTQ community has. It’s important that I recognize the privilege that I have within these identities so that I can be an ally to all of these other communities.