The Year We Obsessed over Identity

For a while, the concept of identity felt lost on me. As a kid, identity felt pointless to me because I associated it with things tied to biology and native culture. As a trans-race adopted kid, all I knew was that I was my mom’s and together we lived in America. In high school, I learned how other factors like privilege, socioeconomic wealth, and intersectionality, and religion shaped who I am today. When I saw Morris’s essay ignoring a lot of these factors, I felt frustrated with the incompleteness of his piece. I came to a discussion with a laundry list of quotes and ideas that bothered me about his writing, and I could feel my ears getting hot as I explained why I was worked up.

The layout for Morris’s story mixed together a traditional book layout with bold pull quotes on people and TV shows referenced in the article. I invited readers to view Morris’s work critically. The quotes I pulled were particularly off-putting and/or powerful. I wanted people to see these quotes decontextualized from the rest of the text to evaluate their oddness. Some of my captions elaborate on critical points of identity Morris ignored in some of his analyses of pop culture--such as the representation of mental health in Mr. Robot or the prominence of LGBTQ characters in
​​​​​​​Orphan Black.

The mini book contains my own story and touches on pieces of identity I believe Morris mistakenly overlooked. Some sections are a direct response to Morris’s essay on the corresponding pages, but others are independent stories that describe my experiences growing up and discovering what identity means to me.


Case study