Iceberg of Identity
Iceberg of Identity invites participants to consider how identity markers influence and shape our perspective of others and ourselves. This strategy invites participants to interrogate a multifaceted construction of identity and its relationship to privilege.
Invite participants to brainstorm a broad range of identity communities based on a range of markers (e.g., religious communities, race/ethnicity groups, socioeconomic status, familial relationships, and/or hobby/vocation). Based on these identity communities, ask each participant to compile an individual, written list of “identity markers,” which society may use to describe them (e.g., female, black, liberal, daughter, girlfriend, young adult). Each participant chooses five markers from their list – that they feel comfortable sharing – and writes one marker each, on 5 different post-its or individual pieces of paper with tape. Draw a picture of a large iceberg outline in the water on a chalk/white board. It’s important the drawing includes parts of the iceberg formation above and below the water level. Invite participants to place each of their 5 individual “markers” onto the iceberg image based on whether the identity marker is seen (placed above the water) or can be hidden (placed below water level) from others. Afterwards, ask participants to observe where identity markers are placed. Engage in dialogue about what markers are placed where and why. To close the strategy, invite participants to reflect on the ways individual and group identities are seen and not seen in this learning community and why this might be.
- How did it feel to write down ideas about your identity? What categories of identity markers did we choose to include/exclude?
- What identity markers are similarly/differently placed? Why do you think that happened?
- How might identify inform our work together in this learning community?
- Consider what identity markers are most important to who you are.
- You only need to share those things that you are comfortable sharing with our group.
- We may have different ideas about where the same identity marker is placed.
- READING AND WRITING and SOCIAL STUDIES: Have students move through this strategy thinking from a specific individual’s perspective from literature or a moment in history.
Bridget Lee, AmeriCorps Training