Positive and Negative Identities Relating to My Social Groups

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I believe being a Christian as one of my most positive social identities. Christianity provides numerous beneficial aspects to my life such as a clear set of morals guided by the bible and a feeling of purpose and companionship at all times. I believe these benefits help to provide an overall sense of fulfilment and direction in life. I have also identified being Kiwi as a positive social identity. New Zealand is a relatively safe and developed place to live, filled with beautiful scenery and friendly people. I view being in a Kiwi and living in New Zealand as an advantageous social identity, although each country has its own individual issues, it does not have as severe societal and social issues as compared many to other countries – e.g, gang violence/crime, third world poverty, corrupt government etc.

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Being a non-political voter I have identified as being a negative social identity. I am not enrolled to vote and never have been yet there is no particular reason behind this. Due to not being a political voter, I do not bother keeping up with politics and do not have a party preference. I have identified this as a negative social identity as it results in a major lack in education regarding politics and not having a say in the countries future. I have also identified being an Aucklander as a negative social identity. Although Auckland has a lot to offer in terms of employment opportunities and things to do, it is extremely expensive to live here and has a major traffic problem.

A Central Social Identity of mine that has been Criticised & my Response

My professional identity has been criticized/talked down on before. I work as a Barista, and have been working in Hospitality for over three years. Before beginning University, my older brother would constantly criticise me working in Hospitality and say that I am “wasting my brain working as a barista” and that working in the Hospitality Industry is for unintelligent people. This criticism from my older brother does not necessarily bother me. The reason I am not fazed by his criticism is because I assume he would only say these things as he is trying to look out for my best interest. I agree with him in saying that working as a Barista is a waste of my brain. I do not really use my brain while I am making coffee as it just comes as a second nature to me, and I rarely ever learn anything new/progress my skills while I am at work. I do not agree with him that the Hospitality Industry is only for the unintelligent. I have had many extremely intelligent, hardworking, and motivated co-workers throughout my Hospitality positions. In response to when my older brother would criticise me, I would just agree but tell him to stop nagging me.

A time when a member of a group I Identify with has done something considered terrible by society

Jim Jones was an American evangelist-based cult leader of “Jonestown”, who identified as a Christian and follower of Jesus, that led his followers in to a mass suicide, leaving more than 900 people dead. An investigation was executed due to abuse allegations within the cult, conducted by U.S Representative Leo Ryan. While Ryan’s group and those who decided to leave the cult were about to get on the plane to leave Jonestown, five were murdered by Jones’s followers, by instruction of assassination by Jones. In fear that those who had escaped the cult would bring in authorities, Jones activated his suicide plan and commanded his followers to drink poison laced kool aid. A total of 913 people died, including 276 children. Jones died also of a gunshot wound to the head, possibly self-inflected, (Britannica, 2018).

As a Christian, I do not think my view of Jim Jones differs greatly from majority of non-Christians. Although Jim Jones identified himself as a follower of Jesus and a Christian, I would say that majority of both Christians and non-Christians can see that this was horrible event, instigated by a corrupt and twisted individual. However, as a Christian, I can understand and acknowledge that although Jones identified himself as a Christian, his actions were completely opposite to what the bible teaches. Non-Christians, specifically those who know nothing/little to nothing, about the bible/what God teaches, may have their perception of Christianity influenced in a negative way; this event may have convinced them that Christianity as a religion is evil and corrupt.

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