Kaleidoscopes of identity: Christine Ngo at TEDxUOregon

Kaleidoscopes of identity: Christine Ngo at TEDxUOregon


Translator: Diogo dos Santos Farias
Reviewer: Cristina Bufi-Pöcksteiner So, I would like to begin this afternoon
by asking you to reflect on the presentations
you’ve heard so far today and to think about: If you were to conceptualize
your own understanding of who you are, what are the most important identities
that we come to mind? As you continue in that reflection, I would like to invite you
to then think about how others might
think about your identities. Is that similar or is that different from the first few that I asked
you to engage in? We all hold multiple
intersecting identities that define who we are, that define how we understand
and experience the world, and that determine our social location. When we think about these identities,
they are just a snapshot, it’s a dynamic process. Identities change in their importance, and identities change
in their salience, or their awareness, depending on the context
in which you find yourself. Intersectionality, it is a term that we’ve
heard throughout the day so far, and what I’ d like to offer to you: the theorists, who have studied
intersectionality, have offered the conceptualization
of intersectionality as a “both/and” continuum,
rather than an “either/or.” In addition to that, identities
can confer privilege and power, or they can be marked
by oppression and marginalization. And so I would like to share
an illustrative example with you. Three identities that are
important to who I am are: my identity as an Asian person,
my identity as a woman, and my identity as a soccer player. I share that with you because, after intersection,
they’ve posed challenges to others in their understanding of who I am. There have been people
who have been surprised by the fact that I am
an Asian woman who plays soccer. I remember one of the moments that crystallized
this interesting intersectionality with regard to these three identities several years ago when I found myself
often playing many hours of soccer and being the only female soccer player
on the field with male players. And a friend of mine said to me, “You know, on the field,
I think of you as another player. Off the field, I think of you as a woman.” And although in that moment
I could understand that his comment, his statement,
was intended to be complimentary, what I was left with was a realization that my identity as a woman,
and my identity as an athlete, were seemingly incongruent in that moment. And so I share that with you
because I think, oftentimes, we are able to reflect
on our own lived narratives to make sense of ideas
that are as complex as intersectionality. As a Counseling Psychology student
here at the University of Oregon, my clinical and research interests are in working with
and supporting children who have developed
developmental disabilities and special healthcare needs, as well as their families. So, children’s identities intersect
with those of their family members, intersect with the identities
of their providers amongst others, to create their context or their ecology. And when thinking about
how to best support families, thinking about how could one make
the concept of intersectionality something that is perhaps less abstract
given how important it is, I propose to you
the metaphor of a kaleidoscope. So, a kaleidoscope has several
different pieces, colorful pieces. I offer to you to think about those
as our important identities. And there are three mirrors, and, depending on the lens
through which we observe the reflections, there are different patterns
that can be generated. So, with just a turn of the lens,
we can observe a different pattern. And so when you think about
children and families who are being served by providers, who present and represent
a lot of different disciplines, the providers each hold
their own kaleidoscope, their own lens or their own view
of the child and the family. And through creative collaboration, my hope would be that they could better
understand the diversity of the child, and [what] the child’s family
might represent, in order to better serve the family. And I think about how, through that collaboration,
creativity could emerge. So then, another example
to share with you: a child who has been diagnosed
with a developmental disability and special healthcare needs, who, in terms of an intersecting identity,
also has limited, or no, health insurance. By way of having
this intersection in mind, providers could hopefully collaborate, again seeking creative ways
by which to best serve these families. So, my hope is,
in the time that I’ve had today, is to encourage you
to think about identity differently. To think about yourselves differently, to think about
those around you differently, We are each kaleidoscopes of identity. We exist as intersections
within ourselves and with others. And, therefore, I would like to propose that intersectionality
is key to diversity. Thank you. (Applause)

2 thoughts on “Kaleidoscopes of identity: Christine Ngo at TEDxUOregon

  1. "A child that has been diagnosed with a developmental disorder and special needs but has no health insurance" !!!!!
    What kind of society doesn't look after its vulnerable???! I think she needs to talk about that rather than 'intersecting identities'!

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