Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On (among other things, Jewish) Identity...

Steve Reicher:

Who am I?
I am a jew, but I am no believer and I do not believe that Israel speaks for me.
I can’t be sure what it means to be a jew.
Yet I am sure that others are sure
And I know that jewishness matters.
I know that millions were slaughtered for being jewish.
I know that millions have been displaced by jews for not being jewish.
What is being jewish to my world and to me?
Who are we?
Who am I?
I was born in England of family who fled from Germany and Poland.
I was raised in England by parents who moved abroad for work.
I live in Scotland with a wife born in Yorkshire of a father born in Pakistan and with a son born in Scotland.
Our history is pandemonium, our destiny (we hope) is Caledonian.
Who do we want to be?
What will others let us be?
And does it count one jot to anyone but me?

No wonder I study identity.

Steve Reicher is Professor of Psychology and Head of School at the University of St. Andrews. An expert on social identity, in 2002 Reicher collaborated with Alex Haslam to create the BBC Prison Experiment.

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