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Identity Implosion: The Failure to Be Human

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Jens Johnsson/Unsplash

Jens Johnsson/Unsplash

 

 

On most days, you will find us riding around Denton, Texas on a caravan of wheels. In order to accommodate our five children, I created a bike trailer capable of carrying everyone. Needless to say, we are a sight to behold.

 

The meaning of life is simple…to be human. In an age of identity, desiring to be human is the apex of countercultural existence. We can talk about the ists and isms all we want…we can even completely solve these identity problems…but until we are willing to completely love our neighbor and our self…we will never find humanity…we will only find the next oppression.

 

Over the last few months, I have experienced a period of solitude. Much has fallen away and I’ve had the time to think and think and think. Though I’ve felt the need to hold my tongue and listen, my mind has never been far from the movement to liberate women. Throughout my profession as an activist theologian, I have been committed to engaging a wide range of issues. Certainly, we must push in all types of directions in order to become the human that God has created us to be. With that said, I have thought hard about what it would mean to go all in on women’s liberation to the exclusion of all of the other work that I do. In the midst of my wrestling, something happened. God always seems to show up.

 

My kids love dollar stores. For a few bucks, my kids can shop to their hearts content. After an hour picking what they wanted, we were finally able to leave. We took off through the parking lot and then headed out on the open road. After a long day of pulling them around, I got tired and pulled up onto the sidewalk. A few minutes later, a motorcyclist and a car abruptly stopped right in front of us. If we had still been in the road, there is no doubt that they would have hit us. The screaming and shouting got louder and louder. The motorcyclist was a black man. The motorist was a Hispanic woman. Racial slurs started to fly as soon as they got out of the car. “Bitch! I hope they deport your sorry ass!” “Bitch! I should lynch your ass up for this bullshit!” The back and forth seemed endless. Fuck this and Fuck that. Cunt this and cunt that. Dumbass this and dumbass that. Everything ended with each of them repeatedly spitting on each other. Two oppressed people oppressing each other.

 

Intersections (literally and figuratively) illustrate the failure of single identity activism. The royal rumble reminded me that oppression always exists when a lack of humanity present. In seeking to dehumanize each other, the fighters dehumanized themselves. Humanity is found in fighting for the rights of all. Justice is spread through helping people to be most human.

 

Dehumanization comes in a variety of forms.

 

We must fight them all.

 

Identities are a product of oppression not the creator of them.

 

Amen.

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