forge meaning and build identity

Identity politics always works on two fronts: to give pride to people who have a given condition or characteristic, and to cause the outside world to treat such people more gently and more kindly. Those are two totally separate entreprises, but progress in each sphere reverberates in the other. Identity politics can be narcissistic. People extol a difference only because it’s theirs. people narrow the world and function in discrete groups without empathy for one another. But properly understood and wisely practiced, identity politics should expand our idea of what it is to be human. Identity itself should be not a smug label or a gold medal, but a revolution.”

– Andrew Solomon, Ted Talks

With a bit of lies, I’ve watched his talk four times in a row, trying to absorb every word he spoke. As a professional writer, his word envelops brightly the package that is to give on public. He concludes that we should not only forge meaning, but also build our own identity. It only makes the wrong precious. And surely, I took his advice quite seriously, turning my traumas into my own strength. No more anger but only pity remains: I’m the lucky one.

In our story, as Solomon declared, when we vanish the dragon, we also vanish the hero. In this way, the worst moments in our lives make us who are now building our own identity, as a human being. It’s the resistance, and that is what makes our lives be more beautiful and full of touching stories. Maybe as in the portal photo, resistance seems lonely in the middle of the ocean, but still this ship would navigate with pride and freedom, with forged meaning and built identity.

I, as a researcher of public polices, now understand the importance of identity politics and polices. Since now, I had always put more importance on economic and social polices that have the logic of dominance (politics) or the logic of accumulation (economics). I’ve set aside the logic of identity that society demands, as the examples of immigrants’ right or same sex marriage. Mentioning the example of Uruguay, I’d put more importance on tax policies on foreign multinational companies and their extraction of national natural resources which at last impact the population as a whole, than on same sex marriage legalisation that impacts the minority population of Uruguay. Surely, they were both important differently, and now they became both equally important to me.

The talk of Solomon strongly encouraged me to think the very importance of these identity polices, since those policies are the modern philosophy of expanding ideas of what is to be human. We constantly shape how to define us, as a human being, collectively. And such so, as an individual it is important to speak out his or her own stories so that the others to hear. They are also deserved to know of dragons, so to understand and empathise the heroes of others’ lives.

I also need to talk more of my own stories then, as I conclude. My story is already out there hidden somehow, but I’d be better to slurp the fog of mystery. In fact, there was no mystery from the very beginning. The ship was already on the ocean drifting. Just that no one would dare to ask me to which direction I was heading, for my lighthouse wasn’t on. It wasn’t broke or anything, but I’m glad that this moment I can say that I fixed the light blub.

The light is on, and the ship of resistance is slowing moving forward.


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