Misrepresentation of Identity: A case in ESL Setting


Cahyati, Mira Nurmalasari, Muhammad Riif’at N. K., Riska Azizah H., Yadi Supriadi

Prejudice is prejudgement or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavourable, judgements towards people or a person because of their gender beliefs, values, social, class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, language, criminality, or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership, but usually is negative. Moreover, Green (2018) defines prejudice as … a negative attitude and … feeling toward an individual based solely on one's membership in a particular social group. It occured at Siliwangi State University or more exactly in English Education Department. In this case, we ourselves were prejudiced by some other students because of our facial expressions, the way we gestured, whether we smiled or not at all and so forth. When it comes to tackling this sort of issue, we had better get to know each other in depth and build a tight relationship so that we could get familiar each other better and there’ll be no prejudices.

Discursive Identity is one’s identity as interpreted and defined by the choices of discourse employed to recognize an individual during moment to moment social interaction. Apart from that, According to Gee (2000) D-identities are a matter of social interaction that only become identities because “other people treat, talk about, and interact” with the person in ways that bring forth and reinforce the trait (p. 103). Furthermore, an example is when we have a close friend. It is part of the identity of this person that she is “enthusiastic” – this is one way of looking at “who she is.” Being enthusiastic, in the sense we intend here, is an individual trait, a matter of one’s individuality. It’s not something that one just “is” (“born with”; note that one cannot be charismatic all alone by oneself on an island). It is only because other people treat, talk about, and interact with our close friend as a charismatic person that she is one. Thus, discursive identity, it is the identity that we build because it is observed by others during moment to moment interaction.

Given that, Misinterpreting one’s identity sometimes happened because some people judge others without any evidence so that at times it lead to not respecting others because our own judgements of others without getting to know them deeply. Worstly, we will always have a negative feeling to people at first, even if we don’t really know with them, we also judged them. To cope with this issue is that we need to understand about shaping others’ identity in a logical way by knowing the term “discursive identity” because this terms implies that shaping others’ identity is by observing people characteristics during moment to moment as the definition said above and it is not by observing people characteristics when we just meet them for some period of time, as one proverb says “don’t judge book from its cover” or simply we don’t prejudice others if don’t know exactly who they are.


Gee, J. P. (2000). Identity as an Analytic Lens for Research in Education. Review of Research in Education, 25, 99. https://doi.org/10.2307/1167322

Green, B. A. (2018). Corpora in Language Learning. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching, 1–9.

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