Tapestry of Faith: Building the World We Dream About: An Anti-racism Multicultural Program

Leader Resource 1: Multiple Identities

Suzanne Pharr, from the Foreword to Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, by Eli Clare (Cambridge, MA: South End Press Collective, 1999).

[Talking about multiple identities] "brings me back to those intense feelings of ambivalence, ambiguity, and isolation that I felt in my 20s after I had left a Georgia dirt farm and graduated from a small, working-class women's college. I was torn between my rural self, and the farm community I loved, and the urban world that was giving me enough air to breathe so I could develop other sides of myself. I was in conflict over being a closeted queer girl who was in danger of rejection by family, church, and a community; being a white girl in the middle of a civil rights movement that was not just about race, but also about class; being a girl who loved farming, but who had chosen to teach. In the graduate school at the University of Buffalo, everything I had come from was scorned: rural, redneck, Southern white. Once I had left my rural community, I felt I would never be able to live in peace with myself and my people again: I was in exile from large parts of myself and from my folks."