Identity and Socialization


Humans are different from each other in many ways based upon gender, ethnicity, skin color, first language, age, ability status, religion, sexual orientation, and economic status CITATION Bob10 l 7177 (Harro, 2010). Oppression in this sense is structural, rather than the result of a few people’s choices or policies CITATION You10 l 7177 (Young, 2010). This essay will critically analyze how social and multiple identities affect one, how the cycle of socialization goes about in one’s life and how and where the faces of oppression take place.

The Complexity of Identity

The concept of identity is a complex one, shaped by individual characteristics, family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political contexts. Who am I? The answer depends in larger part on who the world around me say I am. Who do my parents say I am? Who do my peers say I am? What message is reflected back to me in the faces and voices of my teachers, my neighbors, and store clerks? What do I learn from the media about myself? How am I represented in the cultural images around me? Or am I missing from the picture altogether? As social scientist Charles Cooley pointed out long ago, other people are the mirror in which we see ourselves.

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CITATION Bev l 7177 (Tatum, 2000)Social identities

Social identity can be defined by one’s race, gender, religion, ability, class, nationality, and sexual orientation, which builds up our social identity profile thus having an impact in the way we socialize. An excellent first learning activity is to make a personal inventory of our various social identities relating to the categories listed above- gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, and ability/disabilities status.

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The results of this inventory make up the mosaic of social identities (our social identity profile) that shape(s) our socialization.CITATION Bob10 l 7177 (Harro, 2010)Multiple identities

Multiple identity can be defined as when the two groups which are; dominant (advantaged by the society) and subordinate or targeted (disadvantaged) are simultaneously present in one person. When we think about our multiple identities, most of us will find that we are both dominant and targeted at the same time. But it is the targeted identities that hold our attention and the dominant identities that often go unexamined. CITATION Bev l 7177 (Tatum, 2000)Intersectionality of identities

The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. (Oxford Dictionary)

The cycle of socialization

The cycle of socialization is broken down into eight categories. The socialization process is pervasive (coming from all sides and sources), consistent (patterned and predictable), circular (self-supporting), self-perpetuating (interdependent) and often invisible (unconscious and unnamed) CITATION Bel97 l 7177 (Bell, 1997).

The beginning of socialization is when our identities (social identities) are given to us before we are even born. We have cannot decide or choose which identities we want to be born like gender, class religion, sexual orientation, cultural group, ability status, or age. Therefore, we have no control but to accept the identities we have and embrace them. Thus, we should not be blamed or held responsible for the identities we have CITATION Bob10 l 7177 (Harro, 2010). For example, girls should not play with or talk to boys otherwise they will get babies or females should be domesticated and males have to be the providers.

Early or first socialization begins right after we are brought upon the world (after birth). We are socialized by the people surrounding us more especially our families or guardians which is mostly people we love and trust. They often tells us the do(s) and don’t(s) and what is expected from you as female or male in terms of cultural/tradition and society in terms of how to behave, they teach us the roles we have to play and the expectations we should have as we grow up. They help us shape or build a picture of our futures and dreams. It happens both interpersonally (how we relate to others) and intrapersonally (how we think of ourselves) and it automatically becomes part of our early socialization CITATION Bob10 l 7177 (Harro, 2010). For instance, with regards to gender; boys should not cry because they are stronger than girls and girls are weaklings that is why they cry or white kids are smarter than black children (race).

Institutional and cultural socialization begins when we embark on our educational, religious, work experience, medical, constitutional, and economic institutions. The messages we receive are about how to be, whom to “look up to” and “look down on” thus, including the rules we have to abide to, beliefs, values, role allocation and how we think. We are generally exposed to rules, beliefs, roles and assumptions that are not fair to everyone, leaving others to be underprivileged or oppressed CITATION Bob10 l 7177 (Harro, 2010). For example, if you are not a Christian or if you are not a believer then you are not going to heaven or Zulu people are stubborn, they never want to be told what to do and never want to be open to learning other languages or cultures because they are supposedly rooted to their culture and traditions and white people hire black people to be their domestic workers.

Critical incidence

Early socialization


Growing we used to be told that boys should not cry because they are stronger than girls and girls are weaklings that is why they cry.


I totally disagree with such statement because crying doesn’t portray you as weak but it is a way of psychologically releasing and dealing with whatever it is that is making you emotional. For instance, when my grandfather passed on, my father and uncles cried on the day of his burial because it was their way of dealing, releasing and letting go of the pain. Furthermore, there are females that are so strong that they are not easily shaken therefore they do not easily cry. For example, when my Aunt lost her job, she did not cry and lock herself in her room with a tub of frozen ice-cream instead she picked herself up and searched for another and even better job.


With regards to race, white children we always said to be smarter than black children


Intelligence is not measured by one’s skin tone. Both black and white children are smart and have their own IQ level that differs from one child to the other. There are black children that are high flying achievers in their academics. For instance, in my previous high school, it was a black’s dominated school and we had quite a number of students that had an overall average of 90% and above.


If you do not go to Sunday school then you are a devil’s child and you will grow horns while sleeping at night.


Although, not going to church is slightly not good but your relationship with God is not determined by the number of times you’ve went to church. However, knowing and acknowledging him from a young age is very important so that you can grow up with a clearer image of who God is and what you are believing for but nobody is forced to believe when they do not want to.


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Identity and Socialization. (2021, Aug 23). Retrieved from

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