In the beginning weeks of our class, we have begun to think about some different ways in which identity is perceived, defined, and represented in the U.S

In the beginning weeks of our class, we have begun to think about some different ways in which identity is perceived, defined, and represented in the U.S., and when and how identity becomes political. Some key concepts we have engaged include: stereotypes, visibility of identity categories, “marked” and “unmarked” identities, oppression and power relationships between identity groups, self-identification and culture of identity, and problems of definition in recognizing identities.In an essay of 3-5 pages (800-1250 words), respond to ONE of the following three questions, integrating no fewer than three (3) sources we have read or discussed in class. You may include outside examples from the media or popular culture in addition; if you do, please cite these using MLA citation format.Be sure that you have a clearly stated thesis statement at the end of the introduction to your essay. One good way to do this is to underline that statement – if you have trouble finding it, you probably need to revise!1. Class identity is often less visible in the United States than other aspects of identity. Explain why this is, and what kind of assumptions are in play in the representation of the underclass. You may wish to examine intersections of gender with class (working class women), or race with class (the association of poverty with people of color, for example). Where or how do we “see” some of these stereotypes being represented or refuted in the performance of Anna Deveare Smith, the writing of Barbara Ehrenreich, Dorothy Allison, or the coverage of Hurricane Katrina? [NOTE: don’t try to work with ALL of these texts – choose one or two quotes that support the argument you are making]2. Race and ethnicity have functioned very differently as identity categories. Explain what the difference has been historically and how it is shaping the question “Who is Black?” today. What is the origin of the notion of “race” and what was its relationship to colonialism? What effects did the recognition of “races” have in terms of conferring status upon particular groups of people such as African Americans and Native Americans, and how has that translated into negative messages about identity?3. Engage with the issue of “passing” and the specific problems encountered by people of mixed race (Smedley), or more specifically light-skinned African Americans as discussed by Davis. What is the “one-drop rule” and how have beliefs about black identity been shaped by it in the U.S.? Consider the recent controversy surrounding Rachel Dozeal and her self-identification as a black woman as an example through which to understand how racial identity functions in determining “who is black” in the U.S.

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