1.0 What is Culture?

Explore Your Identity

check mark iconExploring Identity Checklist

Please read and complete all materials and activities before moving forward to Part 1.2.

☐ Read the definition of “identity”
☐ Reflect on what defines (your) identity
☐ Watch the “Who am I” Youtube video
☐ Reflection Note: Who am I?
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Identity and the Diversity Wheel
☐ Reflection Note: Diversity Wheel
☐ Complete end of session questions

heading iconWhat is Identity?

Charcoal drawing of a hand that looks like it's made of many people. What is identity? Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go.

Graphic by: Karla Machado Ortiz

Everyone struggles with existential questions such as, “Who am I?” and “Who do I want my future self to be?” These are simple questions with complex answers.

Identity includes the many relationships people cultivate, such as our identity as a child, friend, partner, and parent. It involves external characteristics over which we have little or no control, such as height, race, or socioeconomic class. Identity also encompasses political opinions, moral attitudes, and religious beliefs, all of which guide the choices we make on a daily basis.

Some of us are concerned with the impression we make; we can feel a core aspect of ourselves (such as gender or sexuality) is not being expressed, and therefore we can struggle acutely with our identity. Reflecting on the discrepancy between who we are and who we want to be can be a powerful catalyst for change.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/identity

What defines identity?

Who am I?

reflection icon Reflection Note

You can complete this activity in any way that you prefer – Word document, PDF, PPT, visual, audio, video, etc. We have also provided you with an online form below so that you can capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.

Types of Identities

Personal Identity Social Identity Cultural Identity
one woman with her eyes closed and her hand to her face Three dark skinned faces with tribal markings and jewelry faces from many different cultures

heading iconExploring Identity and Applying the Diversity Wheel

Let’s deep-dive to understand various aspects of our identity better. In this video, you will review the concept of identity, learn about the different kinds of identities we ascribe to, and the diversity wheel which enables us to reflect on ourselves and others in terms of similarities and differences.

Downloadable version of the lecture slides.


reflection icon Reflection Note

Below is an example of a diversity wheel. In the video there was an explanation of how to use the diversity wheel for an activity to explore your values.  To complete this activity:

  1. Think of individuals that you associate with frequently.
  2. Consider some of the dimensions that you are both aware of and assume to be true about the person you have chosen.
  3. Create a diagram (draw, use Powerpoint or another software platform, write in text, create an audio file, etc.) resembling the diversity wheel with the chosen name at the core. We’ve provided a fillable form below for your to capture your reflections and export a copy of your work.
  4. Answer the following questions:
    1. How do I treat this person differently, both in a positive and negative manner, based on what I know or the assumptions I am making about the person?
    2. Where are biases that I can identify?

The purpose of this exercise is to assist your understanding of social reality, as well as help you reflect on yourself and others in terms of similarities and differences that shape your life in a powerful way.

Diversity Wheel


quiz iconCheck Your Understanding

next icon What’s coming up?

You’ve completed: 1.1 Exploring Identity, you can move on to 1.2 Cultural Impacts on Identity & Group Membership by using the menu at the left or the navigation at the bottom of this page.


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Intercultural Awareness and Competence Copyright © 2021 by Trecia McLennon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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