Ethics Defined: In-Group/Out-Group



Can you think of some examples of in-groups and out-groups (historical, political, personal)? What groups are you a part of?


Self-reflect on a time when your perception may have been influenced by the in-group / out-group dynamic.

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  • I most strongly identify as a feminist so I often have to pause and check my reactions to men in power when I note behaviours I consider to be anti-feminist. My reminder for myself is that as a feminist if I am thoughtless and bullying then I am an exhibiting the very behaviours I want to not see in others

    • Good example! I struggle a little with this one because I believe in being inclusive and I also believe in trusting your intuition about who to get close to and who not. For example, children are often taught to over-ride their gut feelings and be “friends with everyone” but this can do a child a disservice in that they may learn to disregard feelings that build well-being and self-awareness and even keep them safe. I think the distinction of levels of trust is needed in the discussion. You don’t have to treat everyone the same way to be inclusive.

  • The simplified in-group/out-group classification is as powerful as it can be harmful.

    I believed we all have been in situations that we were classified as in/out group. When I was in middle school, the school often organize competitions with each class as an unit. Therefore, my class became my in-group and other other classes are the out-groups. We fight for the points for our class and when my classmate did something to sabotage the other groups, we cheer for it. While when others did the same, we loathe it. We kind of became blind towards whether the activity we conducted is right or wrong.

    In-group/out-group gave us a sense of belonging and a sense of unity. However, if we blindly follow the in-group norms without critically examining its rightfulness, we could easily subject ourselves to manipulation and harmful behaviours.

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