What is a social lens?  Do things like racial or cultural identity count as social lenses?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Both racial and cultural identity, as well as many other things, could count as things that affect our social lenses.  Social lenses are the preconceptions and prejudices that we bring to our observation of the world.  Different people can look at the same social situation and understand it in different ways.  This is because they see it through different social lenses.

Our social lenses are built through our socialization.  As we grow up, we are being taught (implicitly or explicitly) what sorts of things "people like us" believe in and what sorts of attitudes we have.  These will influence how we see the world around us.

Racial or cultural identity can certainly help to create the lens through which we see the world.  Our race is not, in itself, the lens, but our race does help to determine how we are socialized and, thereby, it helps to create our social lens. 


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