The term Identity Politics has become a political buzzword and is frequently misinterpreted. Identity Politics has been referred to as a “danger” to the political parties that use it, but also the American political sphere in general. This fear, however, is often due to a misinterpretation of the of the term. Some fear that Identity Politics will lead to further political polarization, while others simplify it to being synonymous to representation. It is for this reason that I chose to create an educational zine about the term, and its origin.
The term identity politics was originally coined by the Combahee River Collective. The Combahee River Collective (C.R.C.) was a collective of Black feminists in the 1970’s. The term was invented for Black women to have the right to formulate their own political agendas. Political agendas that are intersections of being Black in America, a woman in America, and for the C.R.C., being queer in America.
I was inspired by the message of the Combahee River Collective, and disappointed in my lack of knowledge about them. Given the frequent misuse of “identity politics” I found it important to create an easily understandable overview of the meaning and history of identity politics, and highlight the impact of the C.R.C., a collective that has frequently been neglected. I wanted to create a creative zine reflective of the The Combahee River Collective Statement in its color scheme with some inspiration from Feminist zines from the 90’s while still being clear enough to be an educational tool and conducive to an online format. An educational zine was the best way for me to create something as a white woman, moved by the statement of the C.R.C., who wants to raise awareness about the collective and their goals.