- If you taught Unit 1, Lesson 1 (Exploring My Identity), hand back to your students one of their Identity Index Cards.
If you didn't do the Identity Index Card activity from the previous lesson, explain that we are each members of many different groups (groups we are part of). These groups may shift over time and in different contexts. Give your students a few minutes to jot down a few of the groups they are members of, such as family, sports team, class, etc.
Skip b and c below, and continue with the second sentence of d.
- Explain that as part of our identity, we experience membership and belonging. Just as we have many different parts to our identity, we also belong to many different groups, which may shift over time or in different places. Some of these belongings are voluntary – like joining a team or a club – and some are (mostly) involuntary – like being part of one's family or one's race; even if one chooses not to identify with this membership group, others may identify you as belonging to it.
- Have your students look at their Identity Index Cards and think about what membership groups are represented there. You may want to give them a couple of examples. For instance, if you said you were a "sister" one of your membership groups is your family or if you said you were a student one of your membership groups might be your school.
- Give your students a couple of minutes to think about what is on their card and what membership groups are represented. Then ask as many of your students as possible to each share one membership group that they are part of and make a list on the board. See how long a list you can make. Students may add other groups besides what is on their card if your list is short. Point out that certain identities can lead one to feel a sense of belonging to more than one group. For example, an Orthodox Jew may feel a sense of belonging to a community of religious people of all faiths as well as a sense of belonging to the Jewish community. This person might feel shared identity with a religious Christian and with a secular Jew, even though the secular Jew and the religious Christian may not share a sense of belonging to the same community.
- After you've completed the list of membership groups, introduce the terms "Power," "Oppression" and "Privilege." Ask students to define these terms. After collecting a few responses (or if no one is able to offer a definition), share with them the definitions in the vocabulary section below. Raise the issue that membership groups are usually not neutral. Some groups tend to have more power and privileges than others, and the power of one may depend on the lack of power of another (this is what leads to oppression – the system that gives certain people power and privilege at the expense of other people). Also, one's sense of belonging and power can shift depending on context. For example, in a school that is mostly Jewish, being Jewish may come with certain power, whereas in some parts of America, Jews are a small minority and therefore may have less power. You may also want to point out that power and privilege are not always visible to those that have them. When privilege is unearned or has always been part of one's experience, it can easily be taken for granted as "just the way things are" or not even noticed. Ask students if they can think of examples of power or privilege in their own lives/communities.
- Explain that each of our membership groups probably has stated or unstated values or principles that guide the actions of its members. These values may also be related to the group's power. Ask your students to choose a group from the board and identify a value or principle of the group. (If your students need an example to get started, you might suggest that your school has certain rules or an honor code that is supposed to guide student behavior.)
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Set Induction." (Viewed on January 29, 2015) <http://jwa.org/node/11738>.