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Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned.

James Arthur Baldwin


We looked at how we are all alike and different, inside and out, by hearing two poems, learning about the diverse groups to which we belong, and creating a self-portrait.


Think back to a time when you discovered you were different from a loved one. Remember what that felt like. It might have brought you closer together or caused you to drift apart. Perhaps it did not change your relationship at all. What are some of the tools you have learned to use in order to co-exist with people who are different from you?


  • Check out the book If the World Were a Village, by David Smith (Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press Ltd, 2002) or visit Miniature Earth to see a video with similar information. Find a creative way to share this information with your family and friends. It is crucial to living in today's postmodern world for us to acknowledge not just the ways we are the same, but also how we differ. As citizens of the most powerful nation in the world, it is also important to understand that our way of life differs drastically from the lives of the majority of people in the world. NOTE: The video on Miniature Earth is well done and impressive and worth watching. However, you will note that the images used to illustrate world poverty levels are all images of African people. Though the sub-Saharan region probably has the most extreme poverty, using images of only Africans to illustrate world poverty can lead to the false belief that, 1) poverty does not exist on other continents; and 2) all of Africa is impoverished. If you share this video with others, point out this issue to help alleviate misconceptions.
  • Compare visual portraits from different periods in your life. Use school photographs or other photos from family albums. Choose three that you feel truly reflect your inner spirit. Put them back where they were. Then ask family members to each choose three portraits that they feel reflect your inner spirit. Compare and contrast the chosen photos. Does your family see you as you see yourself? Invite other family members to try this exercise.

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