identity

The article by Kathleen Hall, “There is a Time to Act English and a Time to Act Indian: The Politics of Identity among British-Sikh Teenagers,” (1995) exposed me to the inherent hardships associated with the complex process of identity formation among the youth of multicultural societies. The children Kathleen Hall wrote about were raised in a social world far removed from their parents homeland. She explains how these children are pulled between two ways of life; they are pulled between two worlds that are separate and mutually exclusive (Hall, 1995, p.247). Being a fourth generation American, I have never experienced the difficulty of assimilating to a foreign culture; however, I would argue that we have all experienced the hardships of adapting to contemporary social norms. A key element to identity is that it is a socially constructed category that remains fluid and changing. Individuals are able to play with various elements in their social and cultural repertoires in order to construct their identities. In order to illustrate the changing processes of social identity formation, I interviewed four girls from my sorority who were required to learn how to identify with the sorority even though their previous identities and cultures were distinctively different. As I look around our campus, I see numerous girls with the ensigma of a specific sorority attached to their shirts, and boys with that of their fraternity. In fact, I notice the same emblem on my own shirt. I question the purpose of such a symbol, but conclude that it is just a way to identify membership into the culture of Greek life in general, and the culture of our specific sorority in particular. There are many elements associated with being a member of a house. In our sorority, for example, we are required to attend chapter meetings, respect our older “sisters”‘, behave in a respectable manner, wear our pledge pin, learn about our house, and be proud to be a poten…

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