One problem with telling people to “be themselves” is that they often don’t know who they are. Indeed, many people proclaiming this mantra seem intent on dismantling stable sources of identity, such as family, patriotism, and religion.
Instead of defining ourselves by relationships, place, and faith, we are encouraged to define ourselves by what we want — from sex to consumer goods to entertainment. This reduction of people to bundles of impulses makes them easy to market to, but it does not provide a stable source of identity.
It’s no wonder racial identity is making a comeback, and it’s no wonder critical race theory — which defines people by race and racial power structures — has taken over our culture’s leading institutions. Leftist-controlled schools and colleges are leading the way, and are more obsessed with race than ever, as is the legacy media and most of our nation’s leadership class.
In a world of unstable identities, race is an old certainty. In a world where identity is fluid and often up for sale, in which internet posing can become reality, race seems to have an authenticity that is hard to fake.