The main human physical characteristics – race, age, and gender – tend to shape our political identity. Historically, one’s race, age, and gender would determine if one leaned to the left or to the right. For instance, if you were a white male, you would most likely hold conservative beliefs. If you were a female or a person of color, you would most likely hold more liberal views. Older people would base their beliefs on tradition, so many people concluded that they were conservative. These assumptions still exist in today’s society.
Why do these assumptions exist? In American and many other societies, history writes that men were dominant over women, white people were dominant over people of color, and that older people held on tight to traditions. The American government gave more rights to white males. These men were less likely to support changes that would give women or people of color the same rights. Hence, the reasoning for white males to mostly hold conservative viewpoints. Tradition was important to them, so white males mostly wanted to keep their higher position in society. Young people, females, and people of color were more likely to demand change for the same rights. Demanding for social equality and the same rights as white men was considered to be a very liberal idea at the time.
In today’s society, to be liberal is to advocate for progressive changes to the current way of life and for more government involvement in society. To be conservative in today’s society is to advocate preservation of traditional values and to encourage limited government in society. Today’s liberalism and conservatism is a little bit different than it was in the earlier stages of U.S. history. However, some aspects remain the same. For the most part, young people, racial minorities, and females are the ones who promote drastic changes to the way the American government deals with society. For example, most people assume that a young, African-American female identifies as politically liberal. But only because of her age, race, and gender. People take one look, and automatically assume a person’s political beliefs. This happens to me quite often.
I was born on June 1, 1999 in Changsha, Hunan, China. So, I am not originally from the United States. I am of Chinese and Samoan descent. Technically speaking, I am considered an immigrant. For a little while, I possessed a green card for permanent residency in the United States. It is 2018 now, and I am only 19 years old. These physical characteristics listed here meet the stereotypical aspects of a typical liberal, progressive, or leftist. However, I do not identify as any of these things.
I am a conservative person who happens to be a young woman of a Chinese and Samoan descent. My age, race, and gender does not classify me into a certain political group. However, these stereotypes of physical characteristics defining one’s political identity still exist. This goes both ways. People assume the majority of white males are politically conservative. I know so many men who are definitely not conservative. I also know some young racial minorities who are conservative. This culture of assuming one’s political identity because of one’s age, race, or gender should deteriorate. One’s age, race, and gender should not categorize him or her into a certain political group. Just because someone is a minority does not necessarily mean he or she is left-wing. Neither conservative principles nor liberal principles state one must look a certain way to believe the way he or she does. There is no rule requiring certain physical characteristics for each political identity. However, many folks seem to think that there exists a certain rule book to follow. I hope to see more people abandon these assumptions, and to expect astonishing results from everyone they meet.