Jason D Hill: An Immigrant’s American Dream
Jason D Hill on identity politics, multiculturalism and why he’s not a victim of white oppression.
Jason D Hill, a professor of philosophy at De Paul University, has long been a staunch critic of identity politics. Or better still, he has long been a staunch critic of those theories and worldviews that reduce individuals to a set of ethnic or racial characteristics, limit them to their cultural backgrounds, or tie them down to their ancestral roots. It is a critical, philosophical impulse evident in all his works published thus far, from Becoming a Cosmopolitan (2000) and Beyond Blood Identities (2009) to Civil Disobedience and the Politics of Identity (2013).
And little wonder. For Hill himself is a testament to the freedom to become, to go beyond one’s background and cultural milieu. The 20-year-old Jamaican who arrived in the United States in 1985, ‘armed with $120, big dreams for my life, and the love of my family’, as he put it in a piece for Commentary magazine earlier this year, never allowed himself to be constrained by the accidents of birth. He was determined to become what he had always striven to be; a public intellectual. That he was able to do so, Hill argues, was due to the rights and liberties enshrined in the US, the country of his adoption.