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In the Name of Identity Summary Essay

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In Amin Maalouf’s book “In the Name of Identity” Maalouf emphasizes that we should not judge people on one singular identity. He argues that, “Identity can’t be compartmentalized. You can’t divide it up into halves or thirds or any other separate segments. I haven’t got several identities: I’ve got just one, made up of many components in mixture that is unique to me, just as other people’s identity is unique to them as individuals.” The essence of Maalouf’s argument is that one should not define another based solely on a singular component of their identity but rather their identity as a whole. In chapter one, Maalouf suggest that, “… People commit crime nowadays in the name of religious, ethnic, national, or some other kind of…show more content…
Rather the opposite: I scour my memory to find as many ingredients of my identity as I can.” Throughout chapter two Maalouf goes into great detail about what defines him. He clearly states that it is not one component, for instance coming from an Arab background and being a Christian. He does not deny himself of either identity, but instead embraces them both. Maalouf claims that the more allegiances one has the rarer one’s identity is. He clearly states, “Every one of my allegiance links me to a large number of people, But the more ties I have the rarer and more particular my own identity becomes.” Towards the end of chapter two he claimes society generalizes and puts individual components of ones identity and judges them based solely on that single component. Maalouf complicates matters further when he writes, “We blithely express sweeping judgments on a whole peoples, calling them “hardworking” and “ingenious,” or “lazy,” “touchy,” “sly,” “proud,” or “obstinate.” He claims that these judgments often lead to bloodshed. In chapter three maalouf states, “Identity isn’t given once and for all: it is build up and changes throughout a person’s lifetime.” The essence of Maalouf’s argument is our identity changes over time and different components are added everyday, changing our identity as a whole. He gives a great example of an African baby born in New York, compared to if it was born in Lagos,
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