A response to the Vogue Article on Jordan Roth's Coat of Many Colors
Posted by: Kerick 02:05 pm EDT 09/20/21

from a woman in Las Vegas

Identity- the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
Construction- the building of something.

"Ma'am, please keep your hands on the steering wheel."
"Would you like my license and registration?"
"Ma'am just please keep your hands on the steering wheel where I can see them CLEARLY at all times."

This happened to me about 3 months back. I was about 2 minutes from home. I don't live in a bad neighborhood. I have never had any run-ins with law enforcement. I've never done drugs, sold drugs. I don't drink alcohol and drive. I wasn't even sure what rule I had broken to even warrant the traffic stop. It was broad daylight, a normal weekday. I was on my way home from the pawn shop, getting a loan for my wedding ring so that I could start school shopping for my kids. I found myself in a position where one false move could have meant life or death. At this moment I couldn't choose my identity. I couldn't choose to make myself a white woman reaching into the glove compartment to get my registration and insurance. My identity was chosen for me. I was a black woman who needed to keep her hands on the steering wheel in order to remain compliant and not a threat.

Well SHIT!!!! You mean to tell me all I needed was a coat of many colors to represent who I was?
A loving mother of 5. A devoted wife. A working class woman. A woman who loves to read and write. A high school graduate with some college. A daughter. A friend. A person aspiring for more in this life......
Oh, how I wish I could have fashioned myself to look like what I truly was instead of the threat the officer perceived me to be.

This is an essential fact about myself, nothing that I took on. I love being a black woman. There's no "woe is me" about who I am. No matter how many different colors I put on my coat.... the fact still remains, I am who I am.

Now, I'm not saying I completely disagree with you Mr. Roth, because oftentimes people "place themselves in a box of suppression (or allow others to do so for them)" disguising who they really are out of fear of what will come with the "outing" of their own perceived identity. Were you implying a one size fits all approach to identity? I don't think so, and I appreciate the different viewpoint you provided to get some "thinking wheels" turning.

For some, identity may be as simple as adding or subtracting from your appearance and in this instance I can see how it may be easy to wear identity loosely. Yet with others we are defined by our identity. It's not something we can shed or change and we live our lives trying to eradicate the stigma that comes with this born identity.

A transgendered person can change their sex through surgery and on paper to be recognized as whatever sex they want. A non binary person can choose to not be either gender. But can a race choose to not be what it is? Can a person choose to not be their born race and have this change legally recognized as their new identity?

I realize I have taken this deeper than what the original article possibly intended. The "Coat of Many Colors" is astonishing in terms of construction and art. A brilliant way to wear your identity on your sleeve. But what if, just what if, it wasn't that simple for everyone?

If it were that simple there are plenty of lives that would possibly still be here if only they could have worn their identity loosely.

I'm no "race-card puller". I have an appreciation for every race. Friends and family of all types..... but someone has to ask.... What if Identity weren't that simple?

Oh, and did I mention I have a white son?

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