What do you identify as?

Zachary Trebellas,
Batavia, IL.

I think so much pain over race comes from the fact that it feels like we are being defined by others. The government pics the categories and we have to fill in the bubbles. Or other people look at us and decide what they think we are. It’s frustrating for me and I’m sure for others that don’t identify with the racial categories provided.

At a Thanksgiving a few years ago, my cousin asked me, “What do you identify as?” I thought it was such an interesting question because no one had ever asked me that before. It felt like such a step up from “What are you?” In the end, I think many Americans identify with a variety of things like where they grew up, their profession, religion, generation, ethnicity, etc. Race just feels like such an oversimplification of who we are in this country.

I decided to try to contribute to a new conversation by starting a project inspired by the idea of self-definition. If you’re interested, you can take a look and contribute here: iidentifyas.tumblr.com


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