While reading Jordi’s post describing this week’s prompt, my mind immediately shifted to application forms. Job application forms and college application forms, in particular. As I am in the midst of applying to jobs currently, I find myself being forced to identify myself constantly. Am I non-Hispanic or Hispanic? Am I accomplished or not accomplished? Am I interesting or am I boring? Am I a 3.5-4.0 student or a 3.0-3.49 student? Through all these applications, I am forced to categorize the elements that make me, me.
I feel that in today’s age, employers seek out a candidate’s identity more than they did 50 years ago. Although today’s age is always about connections and networking, I think that 50 years ago (correct me if I’m wrong), connections got people places because of their status in life (the rich always got the jobs because Daddy could always find little Suzy a job). With a more qualified and competitive work force, employers need a way to sort the candidates quickly and easily. Therefore, we, as applicants, are squeezed into labels we might not fully identify with.
I find this frustrating because not everyone fits into a cookie cutter mold. Having “identity” hold more importance than class is a big stepping stone in the right direction for our society because we have moved beyond money as being the only important thing in life. However, requiring that everyone have an identity isn’t always a good thing. Just because someone identifies as “gay” doesn’t mean they necessarily “act gay” or “talks gay” or “dresses gay.” Unfortunately, I don’t think that identity politics is leaving anytime soon. Unless there is another way to categorize people, or unless our problems are solved soon, identity politics are here to stay.