Is everything you say prefaced with your social labels? Listeners talk identity

Do all your personal opinions need to be underwritten by your social identity?

Can you express a viewpoint without announcing yourself as a member of a certain social group first?

Presenter Eusebius McKaiser opened a discussion on the language of identity by citing the work of philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah.

Appiah is s a British-born Ghanaian-American author and philosophy professor who questions to what extent social identities constrain our freedom.

McKaiser suggests that prefacing an opinion by your social identity can make it difficult for others from outside that social group to enter your discussion .

He asked other callers to share their thoughts and experiences.

Why do we use that kind of preface before we give an opinion? What is the aim? One bad potential effect is that it stops conversation.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

When we use that kind of language it does something to discourse... There is a danger there, even if it is unintended.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

As a first-generation, urban, English-speaking descendant of Khoi-San I will give you all my categories. We talk about an intersectional approach.

Gertrude, caller

I sometimes preface a comment with the fact that I'm a white male in order to highlight my acknowledgement of my limitations and experiences in contributing to a larger discourse, rather than to undermine other people's opinion because their not white males.

Simon, caller

As a human being, I think that prefacing is used to shut down debates a lot of the time. We do it all the time. It's a horrible debate tactic.

Mandla, caller

Take a listen to the discussion:


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