Lesson 2.7

The Role of Identity In Debate

Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key explanations and exercises below:

Key Concepts:

  • It’s good to include people because of what they can contribute based on who they are.

  • But once you’ve included people in part because of their identities, don’t 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 with innocuous 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!