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Argument 1 Essay

1304 words - 6 pages

The need to identify with a particular group, ethnicity, club, sport’s affiliation, etc. is ingrained within each human being. Societal demands dictate this desire to belong to or identify with a group as a necessity. Without this identification, this bond with a group of people, one is left with the feeling that they don’t belong, that they are outsiders looking into a world in which they do not fit or one feels as though they are left with no support system or recourse when they feel as though they are being oppressed, discarded, or overlooked. As students enter the world of the university, they discover that it is the perfect place for them to experiment with this identity, locate a group with which they connect, and fight for those beliefs that the group feels are most crucial. These identity groups at various university campuses have embraced the need to right the wrongs that they feel they have been exposed to in society. Gitlin raises the question of where identity is formed and where identity politics are most prevalent. I will argue that identity politics are formed within society and strengthened, maintained, and supported within the universities. Students are exposed to and begin to embrace identity politics within society, but find the issues in the world of academia easier to fight and adjust.
Identity politics, according to Gitlin, is when “a group searches for and cultivates distinctive customs, qualities, lineages, and ways of seeing” (141). These identity groups search for their own “culture” in response to the recognition of a “collective hurt” the group has been subjected to by society (Gitlin, 147). Minority groups participate in identity politics as a result of their perceived lack of recognition and representation in public life. Over the years, the need for minority groups to identify themselves with a specific and correct ethnic identity has increased as a result of censuses performed by the government, schools, and other organizations, as well as the increased frequency of surveys and other categorizations (Giltin, 111).
Besides feeling underrepresented in censuses, tension within minority groups increased in regards to schooling and admittance into certain high schools as a result of society, specifically the NAACP and the 1982 desegregation settlement which mandated that only 40% of any minority group could attend any given high school and once that high school reached their quota, other qualified students must be bussed to neighboring schools and districts in order to uphold the settlement agreement. This societal mandate upset Chinese American students and their families causing them to attempt to overturn the ruling (Gitlin, 116). Conflicts between Chicano and African American students arose in colleges in California as a result of affirmative action. Asian students at Berkeley felt they were being denied their right to be admitted to Berkeley because the university was forced to admit minority students even if...

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