Lesson 2.7

The Role of Identity In Debate

Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key concepts below:


Key Concepts:


It’s good to include people in your thinking processes and your debates because of what they can contribute based on who they are. But once you’ve included people in part because of their identities, it’s a good idea not to invoke identity during debates.

  • Debates need to stay about ideas, and not become about subtly validating or defending a group’s or an individual’s identity.

  • Often debates become proxy wars for the identity of a group you represent. This can literally start because of well-meaning attempts at inclusion:

    • E.g. Saying, “As a woman, what do you think?”

    • E.g. Saying, “As a representative of the Marketing team, I think…”

  • These kinds of things immediately add a new goal to a debate: preserve the reputation of your identity group.

  • This can put pressure on you to appear right, even at the expense of getting to the truth, or to better solutions to problems.

  • In other words, it can nullify the benefits of cognitive diversity that your different identity gives you in the first place!