04 Dec 2016



Enzo Selvaggi via Phillip Willian DeVous

“Identity politics is a product of individualism, and individualism is a cornerstone of Anglo-Saxon Western civilization. People used to identify with intellectual identities that were conceived in the higher self – they would say they were Christian and Jewish, capitalist and socialist, working class and job creators, nationalists. But now they are identifying with their lower animal functions – LGBT (who they prefer sexually), vegetarians (what they prefer to eat), white and black (colours that we are born into and have no intrinsic value), gender and sex (which genitals they have), millennials and non-millennials (not youthfulness, but ageism), the music genres they listen to. And these accidental identities are shaping their behaviour, their life decisions, their dress, and their relationships. This is the true Fall of man, the fall from the higher self to the lower self, from the mind and the spirit to food, genitals, and worldliness.”

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Seattle Sam

30 years ago if you asked someone, “Tell me about yourself?” they might say, “I’m from Pittsburgh, I went to Penn State and I’m an accountant.” Today you might hear, “I’m an African-American Lesbian.”

It’s a variation on the old Indian caste system where your identity was fixed by the circumstances of your birth.


I think there’s something missing here. People who identify themselves in terms of race or gender or sexuality are doing (or at least, I myself have done) so in a culture that never ceases to remind us of our race etc. The issue is not so much that I identify as a woman of color but that my life is circumscribed by people who treat me the way that they do *because* I am a woman of color. I identify as a philologist but the material does not stop asserting itself. I think the point in this surface (lower?) identification is to shed light on a problem. We imagine that it would be a step toward resolving the problem to acknowledge its existence.

In my youth I would have liked nothing more than to not be a brown-skinned female. My whole life I’ve been asked by people, “What are you?” and my naive answers (a girl, a human) were always rejected. Incorrect. From earliest childhood to even now my humanity is being denied me. It has shaped who I am on the inside (higher?). I did not study science and math despite my proficiency, my parents’ warnings and my own desire to please them. I study what is a humanity and how to have it. Inasmuch as I am a woman of color I cannot but.


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