I am a second-generation Turkish American. However, how does this hyphenated identity impact the daily interactions I have in society? When taking an intercultural communication course, I was introduced to Boylorn and Orbe’s Critical Autoethnography book. In it, they explore the everyday interpersonal and cultural experiences that they and fellow contributors have had with society. Through their lived experiences and personal narratives, readers are invited into the multiple ways in which we navigate our personal selves in the societies that we live in. In section three, “Negotiating Socially Stigmatized Identities,” contributors explore what it is like to live with an identity that has been stigmatized in society.

As I read the stories of these individuals, each one resonated with me and had me question the position and presentation that I place on myself. One story stood out among them all. It was the narrative of an Arab-American, Jewish, and nonheterosexual middle aged individual. Their daily interactions demonstrated the struggles and challenges they faced in American society. While I do not share a similar identity with the individual, It did have me question the ways in which society restricts and impacts how I strategically perform my identities in society. It began to have me look back at special moments in my life where my identity had been challenged.

The reason this moment stands out is that it was the first time I questioned and desired to explore my position and the impact my identity has had in society. It has taught me the importance of identity and that how we communicate our identities can impact how we are perceived and adapt our identities in society. Moreover, it guided me to my interest in examining the construction and negotiation of one’s identities and their performances in society. In reading this text, I was moved. It invited me to examine scholars’ lived experiences and how it impacts their identities. Moreover, it made me question and look inward to examine how my identity as a second-generation Turkish American plays a role in the interactions I have in society. Since this moment, I have heavily examined and questioned more the ways that our identities influence the interactions we have in society. I am forever grateful for this text and the moments it has given me.

– Ahmet Aksoy (Doctoral Candidate, Media and Communication, Texas Tech University)