Reflections on Identity with Kwame Anthony Appiah

On April 2016, Latino USA‘s Maria Hinojosa spoke with philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah. Appiah, an immigrant from Ghana, has spent much of his career reflecting on issues of identity and belonging and their significance to individuals and communities. In the interview, Appiah shares his thinking about race and emphasizes that while race is a social category, it does not have real biological meaning.

Reflection Questions

  1. What does Appiah want people to understand about the idea of race?
  2. Appiah encourages people to engage in “identity play.” What does he mean?
  3. He talks about the “baggage” that comes with our ascribed identities, what is that baggage? Is there a way to free ourselves from that baggage?
  4. If racial differences are not important biologically, why does the idea of race matter? Does it? What insights do you take away from Appiah’s discussion with Maria Hinojosa?
  5. What is the relationship between issues of race and immigration? How have they been connected historically? To what extent are they connected today?