Published Online: March 21, 2008

Identity Politics

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Human Flag, <a href=Classroom Clipart" height="86" width="130"/>
Human Flag, Classroom Clipart

This presidential election season has produced the most diverse candidate pool in our nation’s history, which has included an African American, a Latino, a Mormon, and a woman. While the candidates vie for the presidency, Teaching Tolerance encourages educators to explore the dynamics of identity politics.

With The ABC’s of Identity in the Elections, teachers and students can examine what role race, ethnicity, gender, and faith play in the election. Teaching Tolerance offers lesson plans designed to help students understand the influence of identity politics on the public, the presidential candidates, and themselves.

With a collection of recommended (and linked) articles, teachers can engage students in discussions about the media’s use of identity politics, and the effect this has on public opinion; a participatory activity challenges students to see the effect of identity on candidate support; and a look at political merchandise teaches students to detect when identity is being abused by playing into stereotypes.

Most activities require one or two class periods, and some of the racially-charged material may not be suitable for all grade levels.

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