“Authenticity” is a word often associated with positive connotations. If someone says you are ‘authentic’, they are likely to mean you seem honest, genuine, or down-to-earth. However, judging something to be ‘authentic’ is also an evaluation that censors and places limits, because what is ‘authentic’ is always judged according to a standard set by someone or something else. Who gets to set the standard, for example, for what it means to be ‘authentically Christian,’ ‘authentically feminine’, or ‘authentically Black/Hispanic/White etc.’? Instead of evaluating people based on our own assumptions of what certain identity markers mean, why don’t we praise people when they present interpretations of their identities? Let’s turn away from judgments of ‘authenticity’ and commit to making room for the multiplicity and complexity that reflects our diverse lived experiences!
By Jocelyn Odòna Holm
Sponsored by the Office of Diversity & Inclusionn
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