"To be american in american society"

Finding personal and societal inconsistences placed on individuals due to the title “American”, this project performs these assumptions on how our self-identification differs from how other people choose to identify us.

-Jasmine Boothe. Dec 2017

The universal validation of one's identity in the US has always been certified through governmental procedure. Our identification cards: state ID, passport and drivers license all prove to validate our legal right of existence. What is stated on the card provides the framework but not the construction of an individual. Our choice of identification moves far beyond what is stated on one's card.

Recreating an American identification card for 16 willing students at the City College of New York, each person was asked to state their legal name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality and status of citizenship. Allowing them full control over how they choose to be identified, various identification cards were created to reflect their responses.  

Identification Cards of each participant


As if being identified through government procedure, I prepared identification cards for each participant.  Although asking each person to state their nationality, and status of citizenship, I left both of these sections blank for an outside participant to assume .


The last question each participant was asked: 

"Do you consider yourself American?"

Regardless on their status of citizenship, to be classified as American is still vastly different from one's claim to American identity.



There becomes this shift in social context within American identity once moving out of an educational institution and into the streets of NYC. In some ways, this educational institution serves as a catalyst for an almost idealized yet hopeful advancement in society.

Approaching New Yorkers at these locations to fill out these identification cards, I wanted to consider how areas of transport and historical significance shape our view of race and identity in America.:

-Grand Central Terminal

-United Nations Headquarters

-South Ferry

-Wall Street

The assumed identities of each participant

Demonstrating how societal perceptions shape the way we identify others, this project is reflective not literally of the individual but of society as a whole.  Representing identity through this identification card, our “American-ness” can be disputed or reaffirmed through this performance social experiment. - Jasmine Boothe

Dalia Saavedra                                                                              Aicha FOFANA

Rhianna hopkins