The Ethics of Identity Critical Context
by Kwame Anthony Appiah

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Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

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Appiah is widely admired as an eminent philosopher of the early twenty-first century. Because of his multicultural and outsider experiences, he is extremely well positioned to write about the complex relationship between personal and collective identities. He was born in England and raised in Ghana by an English mother and an African father who was a prominent politician. After completing his Ph.D. in philosophy at Cambridge University, he moved to the United States to teach at several prestigious universities. As an openly gay man, moreover, he understands what it means to be disrespected and considered an outsider by many persons in the dominant society. While he praises and identifies with aspects of Western culture, he also celebrates numerous traditions and cultural achievements of Africa, and he makes it clear that he continues to take pride in his Ghanaian identity.