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Vol. 5 No. 4 (2022): Critical Phenomenology, Racial Justice, and Radical Imagination

Identity Politics, Solidarity, and the Aesthetics of Racialization

  • Shilpi Sinha
February 9, 2023


Identity politics is often perceived as that which cannot serve as a force for just societal change since it is thought to undermine the possibility of crossing differences and engendering solidarity. Such an endeavor is seen to be especially important for addressing the racial polarization and cultural divisions that are evidenced in the United States today. However, such critiques against identity politics jettison any deep understanding or recognition of the structures and orientations that sustain the call to racial identity politics as found, for example, in the Black Lives Matter movement. In this article, I examine what those structures and orientations are, and explore the ways in which such an examination may reframe our understanding of what it is that might be required for the cultivation of solidarity. I argue that what gets lost or remains unaddressed in the way the critiques against identity politics are currently framed, is the reality of what I call the mobilization of the aesthetics of racialization. It is only by foregrounding how we come to our identities through the habituated movements, patterns, orientations and capacities called out of our bodies in relation to spaces, places, other bodies and things, that can we begin to understand what sustains the call toward racial identity politics.