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anorton's picture

Identities

Dana Takagi asserts that "identites whether sourced from sexual desire, racial origins, languages of gender, or class roots, are simply not additive" (23). This seems to mean that you cannot generate a list of different identities that apply to you or cohesively describe who you are (much like we actaully did in the identities group activity in class...?). This tacking on of identities does not automatically allow for certain identities to have greater import than others to the individual. In a way, it does, however, allow us to make distinctions between ourselves; though, admittedly, these distinctions are based in the words of a symbol system that may be taken to mean different things by different people.

I am not sure that I understand why identities cannot be additive; Takagi's problem does not seem to be based in the incapability of language—or of any communicative mode—to accurately express one person's concpetion of his or her identity to another person. Would it be preferable to have a heirarchy of identites, so that one could have sub-identities within broader identities? Takagi quotes Trinh T. Minh-ha as saying, "'How do you inscribe difference without bursting into a series of euphoric narcissistic accounts of yourself and your own kind?'" Is the problem not that one would have to express a complete list of identities to fully express oneself? It is more convenient, but less identifying, to have general group like "Asian American"—which seems itself an additive identity.

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