Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

Identity does not mean identity

on 2023 March 12

I had been confused during this lifetime about the word “identity” and even written about it but it was not til just now that I figured out something fairly major that should have been obvious. When people talk about their identity lately or say “I identify as…” or “my identities”, usually they are talking about group identity. The word “identity” originally meant who are are as distinct from everyone else, like your name or anything else that might be on an identity card or that might pinpoint you as an individual. Now it can also mean group membership, or maybe it primarily means membership.

For those of us who don’t really do group membership, there is no longer any identity if we start talking this way. It’s as if we are nothing because we cannot successfully stake a claim to be a part of something. And what happened to the spiritual significance of each person regardless of how you might categorize them? The shift of language signals a shift in values, that people don’t matter. This shift of language occurred mainly in the progressive left of society, so does that mean those people don’t care about people apart from their categories? Western capitalist culture drives people to be seen more as a labor commodity; the progressives are trying to “decolonize” and counteract that; yet they may ironically be doing it the most.


One response to “Identity does not mean identity

  1. I had thought that “identity” meant something like “identical”:

    in this way the people who you are similar to and who are similar to you.

    Otherwise we would have similardity…


    your second paragraph got me thinking.

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