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Dominant and Subordinate
Reflection Paper
Hannah Park 12/2/2013

Social Identity 1

Dominate and Subordinate Group Analysis Reflection Paper Every person is a part of a social structure that is categorized into several different groups within their community. America began as the melting pot, welcoming people from different countries, races, beliefs, and religion that are hopeful for new opportunities and freedom. Throughout history there have been waves of immigrants traveling to the states bringing their own cultures and traditions into this new land. Even then, there has been a structural status holding the society into stratified groups. Within these groups, there are the dominant, privileged people and the subordinate, oppressed people. The dominant group stabilizes its position in society by having better access to resources and opportunities while the subordinate group lives at a disadvantage. We aren’t given a choice to which classification we are born into, but being branded since birth, we are forced to live our own “way of life” with the group we are identified with. As a product of our environment, each individual possesses their own dominant and subordinate identity. As a young adult, American- born Korean heterosexual female, my age classification, citizenship, and status carries dominance, while my ethnicity, gender, and age again, is subordinate. I have always felt a barrier when it comes to the dominant members to my subordinate group such as the rich, Caucasian, and male. I can recall several times that I have been made fun of for having small eyes or overlooked because females lack certain skills that males have. There is a naturally structured inequality and discrimination around us that automatically makes me feel inferior, disrespected, and guarded towards the dominant groups. It’s unnecessary for me to pick and choose at every little thing that is different about me, but I can’t help to realize the features that separate me from my fellow Caucasian neighbors. Being a young adult and of Asian ethnicity, there is an unspoken realization that chokes our satisfaction. We don’t have a place in this melting pot to call our own. Other cultures have brotherhood, a common genre of music, type of dance, own sport, or lexicon of slang. We don’t have a statement in history of our ancestors fighting for equality on the great golden lands of America either. We roam in this country not sure of where we can fit in. The only time I have the upper hand is the fact that I am a citizen and the struggles of obtaining a green card, visa, student visa, work permit are not there. But even this is only a dominant factor within my own social identity group. As a female, I have experienced, yet, another weight on my shoulders. It didn’t matter how boyish you dressed, or how rough you acted. Being a female meant you were the weaker, more vulnerable, and sensitive one. I may have been oppressed in the past, but my privileges are what carry me on. Although Koreans are recognized as the same ethnic group, within our community, we are also recognized separately. I am a disadvantaged individual because of my looks, accent, age, and gender, but America is my backbone. For that, I am a privileged individual because I am a citizen, healthy, young, different, and a female. I am also a part of a large middle-class system that has provided me a job, an outstanding education, ability to obtain a license, and to afford my own apartment. Being a part of various identity groups is what makes a person up. Approaching this assignment, I had no idea how to attack this subject, but at the end it allowed me to dig deeper into what I was actually afraid of. It made me wonder if it really is because of the shape of my eye, or my language barrier that I was treated differently. Or have I missed some life changing opportunities because I was seen as inadequate as an Asian or a female?

Social Identity 2

Regardless of all the questions that I ask, it does not change my membership in my group. I will always have the smaller eyes and less dominant features, I will always be a female in a male-dominant society, and I will always be an American- born Korean. This does not mean I am placed on the subordinate side of the scale for I am still American, I still hold my rights, I take pride in my ethnicity, and I grateful for the appreciation that are growing towards women. Overall, I realize that I am a member of both privileged and oppressed groups of society simultaneously. This led me to believe that the life experiences on both sides were necessary for me to achieve acculturation to its fullest.