Hi Maha, you asked for comment and I’ve been thinking a bit about all of this, partly because I’m also thinking about a separate question that was raised for me at a similar time, but in a different context, about how we measure and value diversity in organisational settings.
I feel the problem arises in a practical sense because we are asked to think of identity as both fluid and fixed. It makes sense to me to think about my own identity as a practice that operates within constraints, so on that basis it also makes sense to me that this identity practice both shifts of its own accord, and shifts as I move between different constraining situations (that themselves change over time).
None of this is at all contentious. But it does mean that when for operational purposes we try to fix someone else’s identity and to settle in a fair way with our shared context, something vibrates anxiously in the universe in which identity is fluid. Sometimes this is expressed as discontent, friction, objection. Sometimes just a whispering sense of worry. Sometimes a defence against all of these, wherever they come from.
The only way forward is to keep returning to our reflexivity as thinkers. Who are we, where do we stand at the moment? Who is around us, where do they stand? The balance of power in all of these relational ways of thinking will constantly unsettle, reassemble itself, unsettle again.
Thank you for writing this thought provoking set of statements. Privilege is what it is.