Often within family life and our daily life we take on different roles as extensions of our personalities and identities. In looking at one’s identity, often cultural values, especially reinforced in family life, will create influence. Recently students in Sociology of the Family examined how the culture in which they were raised influenced parts of their identity. Reflection included how they identify with an ethnicity, religion, gender, as well as traits and roles they accept.
Students explored the idea of how sometimes a ‘single story’ shapes our belief about others or even themselves. Or how sometimes, due to the ‘single story’ that is told or believed, a person’s view of another is restricted or limiting. Stereotypical beliefs begin to take shape and are attached to the identification or roles others take leaving people feeling unseen or unheard.
To challenge those stereotypes students were asked to write a ‘Just Because’ poem to help change the narrative and challenge the stereotype. This allows a clearer voice to be heard. The poem included three stanzas where in each stanza a ‘single story’ belief was challenged and clarification was offered. And the final statement offered an affirmative to who they are as a person.
Samples of stanzas written by various students:
Just because I’m not talking to you
doesn’t mean I dislike you
doesn’t mean we’re not friends
doesn’t mean I’m your enemy
I am thinking about what to say, before talking
Just because I’m Muslim
doesn’t mean I’m not trustworthy
doesn’t mean I’m from the Middle East
doesn’t mean I can’t dream big
I am a good person.
Just because I’m wearing jewelry
doesn’t mean I’m showing off
doesn’t mean I’m better than everyone
doesn’t mean I can afford everything
I am expressing how I feel and my style.