This socratic dialogue is intended to help students think about the social construction of identity. This lesson would be a good introduction to any work about identity, gender, race, or social justice and equality.
The original intention of this lesson plan was to introduce a major thesis in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass - that he was a “man” even though he was not “white,” and therefore he was fighting to change the “definition” of “man” (rather than arguing that he “counts” as white). The discussion quickly morphed into a conversation about gender identity and other big issues students today have questions about. Laying this foundation early in the year influenced our discussions of other works about race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity.