by kathleenljackson

To pass is to sin against authenticity, and “authenticity” is among the founding lies of the modern age. The philosopher Charles Taylor summarizes its ideology thus: “There is a certain way of being human that is my way. I am called upon to live my life in this way, and not in imitation of anyone else’s life. But the notion gives a new importance to being true to myself. If I am not, I miss the point of my life; I miss what being human is for me.” And the Romantic fallacy of authenticity is only compounded when it is collectivized: when the putative real me gives way to the real us.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “The Passing of Anatole Broyard.” In Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man. New York: Random House, 1997. Pp. 180-214.

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