Thursday, October 20, 2005

You're (insert identity here) too?

There’s nothing more irritating than the identity group set-up. This is when a well-intentioned friend sets you up with someone who you have virtually nothing in common with, other than your shared membership in an identity group. The internal logic is “Dave’s black. Carla’s black. They should go out!” The inevitable result of 99% of identity group set-ups is:

Dave: So…I see you’re black?
Carla: Yup.
Dave: How’s that working out for you?
Carla: Well, and you?
Dave: Good here too!

My own theory as to why the identity group set-up persists is the common misconception that being a member of an identity group is like having a hobby. If you have two friends who appear to like skiing, you figure they’ll have lots to talk about. If you have two friends who appear to like being Latino, you figure they’ll have lots to talk about too. As a few model conversations will demonstrate, this type of thinking is obviously flawed.

Allen: Are you still actively gay?
Scott: I played varsity in college, but now I just play in the company intramurals.

Rachel: How often do you get to be Jewish?
Dave: I try to at least once a week, but the office has been crazy this month, so it’s been tough.

Aileen: When did you first get interested in being bi-racial?
Brendan: It’s funny, I don’t remember, it’s just something I’ve always been into.

Kevin: What equipment are you using these days?
Tiffany: I’ve really been liking the Asian American 400 series, but I still feel that the Titanium Yellow is better for my short game.

All of this is not to say that people can’t and don’t have very successful relationships with members of their identity group. They can, and they do. It’s just absurd to assume that two people in the same identity group will automatically have lots to talk about. That said, stop the insanity. Put an end to the identity set-up.

People you meet as friends on the other hand... "Oh, you're from Minneapolis? I know someone from Minneapolis! Do you know Karen Smith?"

Ms. J


Blogger Berry said...

Food for thought ;)

8:43 AM  
Anonymous thesuze said...

How about "you're a money-grubbing a**hole? You'd love my friend Suze!"

7:24 AM  

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