Every person is an individual and a member of one or more groups. The question, “Who are you?” asks you to name yourself and to state your age, gender and sexuality, and perhaps your job, status or role. You might add your interests and beliefs, including your religion, ethnicity and political affiliation. These are all aspects of your personal identity. As members of families, of ethnic and religious groups, and even of clubs and other organisations, people also have several group identities.
© Aria Ahmed
All people are complex, with multiple, overlapping and intersecting identities. Some of these link you to others and give you a sense of belonging, whether to family, peers, or members of your ethnic or religious group or social class. Equally, they may set you apart from other people. Being and feeling different can be a positive or negative experience depending on the situation and how you are treated by others. The communities you are a part of and the strong bonds that tie you to them can sometimes segregate you from others in unhelpful ways so that you might find it difficult to build relationships with people outside those communities.
Most people are proud of who they are and feel a strong bond with those of their own kind. But, at times, this can mark them out from others and lead to stereo-typing, racism or hatred. Some people live in one place for a long time and may even be a citizen of that country, but never feel accepted or at home. Other people are lucky enough to feel at ease in more than one place, with homes and families to be visited on different continents.