Social Identity

Conversation Guide

People usually identify themselves with one or more societal groups. . Once settled in a particular group identity, it’s common for people to compare themselves favorably to other groups, often fueling prejudice. These differences can be emphasized (and overemphasized) to discourage mixing and/or to reinforce one’s own social position. In what other ways does belonging to specific groups influence interaction between people and social divides in society?

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

Social identity and relations with others

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
  • Which  groups have you joined by  choice and to what groups you are ascribed by other people or society at large?
  • Which  groups are most important to you and how do you feel about belonging to these groups?
  • What do you gain from your groups? How does your group influence your identity or sense of belonging?
  • How do you think your groups differ from other groups? How does comparison of your group to others help you feel more positive or negative about yourself?
  • Are there groups you avoid or do not think highly of? And are there groups you would you never join? Why?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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