Here’s an interesting exercise – think about how you identify yourself, and how others might identify you. Don’t worry, no one is watching here, this is in the privacy of your own mind. Do you think of yourself in terms of Race? Ethnicity? Skin color? Gender? Age? Sexual orientation? Nationality? Political ideology? Profession? Social class? Religious affiliation? Atheist? Anti-theist? Educational status? Conservative? Liberal? Socialist? Anarchist? Nihilist? Economic status? Urbanite? Suburbanite? From the country? If you are North American, do you think of yourself as a Southerner? Northerner? New Englander? Mid-westerner? Are you an asshole? Easy to get along with? Selfish? Self-less? Altruistic? Humanistic? Are you engaged? Disengaged? Open minded? Close-minded?
When other people look at you, what do they see? Do you express your core beliefs out loud, or do you keep them to yourself? Do you think the things you say identify who you are as a person to others? What about the way you look?
Perhaps we don’t think about these things at all. If we don’t, that usually means we are privileged in some way. We don’t think about them because we don’t have to. Maybe we should take a moment to reflect on that…
Perhaps the most important way others identify us is by the things we do. How we behave. How we treat other people. How we treat our environment. Do we treat others with common decency and respect? Do we help others for no reason?
What kind of human are we? What kind of human do we want to be?