Since I’m writing my senior thesis on the theme of national identity I have logically been thinking a lot about identity. Not just within the framework of political science but on a far more comprehensive as well as a much more intimate scale. In an age where identity politics are simultaneously lauded and villified, what does identity even mean anymore? Does it mean anything anymore?
Within the world of social justice, one that sometimes seems to use the word “intersectional” far too much (it’s not always what you think!), identity can feel often very overwrought, sometimes even confining. If we posses marginalized identities we are supposed to reclaim the parts that have been demonized, tokenized, denigrated. We are supposed to love ourselves not inspite of who we are but because of it. And at the risk of sounding like those people that always say “there’s only one race, the human race” I sometimes feel reduced to the identities I carry. Of course they are a part of me but I am more than a woman, more than a person of color. What exists inside all of us is oftentimes resistant to definition.
Most of our identities are based on social constructs and are therefore buffeted by the winds of the structures that seek to tear them down or uplift them but what would it look like when those structures are removed? What happens to identity when the concept of identification is removed, the need to classify. As much as we seek the need to define ourselves I find the allure of undefinition strangely irresistible.