The Lies that Bind — Kwame Anthony Appiah

This is an enlightening discussion of what identity is and how it works, both in history and in the present day. Appiah weaves explanations together with history, anecdotes and analysis. He also adds some personal stories and perspectives from his own quite interesting background. 

I like his nuanced take on so-called “cultural appropriation”: there is nothing wrong with it as such — that’s how culture works. But the appropriation can sometimes be done in an exploitative or disrespectful way, and that’s when problems arise.

The nicely C-themed chapter titles give a good overview of the book: classification, creed, country, colour, class and culture. It doesn’t cover all aspects of identity, but it’s pretty comprehensive. I did find myself nodding quite a lot as I read it. Identity seems to be quite a prominent topic these days — now I feel I understand a bit more about it.

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