Identity: The First Tool of Separation in our Myth of Separateness — Inheritance Project
When people say, “I don’t get involved in identity politics,” they are choosing to avoid the reality that identity is inherently political in its origin. The first identities, or stories about what makes us “us” and them “them,” were created by our earliest ancestors to motivate social groups to work together towards shared goals or values, or fight against a common enemy. Identity is the first tool of separation in our myth of separateness.
Without it, we would all inherently be one people.
Ask yourself -”When do I use my identity to belong or unite with others, and when do I use my identity to separate myself and make either myself or someone else “other”?
When we are confronted by global issues that affects every single person on earth, such as the pandemic, the veil of this myth is lifted. For a moment we are able to transcend our individual identities and experience a sense of common belonging. This experience generates immense power and can lead to rapid progress that was previously considered impossible.
As we navigate the polarized waters of “us and them” rhetoric, fear mongering and aggressive campaigning it can be easy to lose sight of the values that unite us as human beings. To create a future where all people are accepted and no one is rejected due to the color of their skin, creed, country of origin, economic class or culture, we need to learn not only how to sit at the same table as those who disagree with us, but also how to find common ground and shared values to forge meaningful, productive dialogue.