The Anonymous Other (an introduction)


“[The] anonymous hero is very ancient.

He is the murmuring voice of societies.

In all ages, he comes before texts.

He does not expect representations.”

–de Certeau, 1984, p. v

     As a recovering addict, I have chosen a life cloaked in anonymity, until now, since taking the risk to share my experience by transforming silence into action (Lorde, 1977). The choice to “come out” as an addict is not typical, as the public construction of the addict often illuminates conceptions of low-status, deprived individuals living in the margins (Reith, 2004). But, I have felt the metamorphosis offered by anonymous recovery has afforded me the prosperity of strength. Behind closed doors, I’ve existed in a world where people of all ages, backgrounds, and race face the same fear (Lorde, 1997)- dying from the disease of addiction. In this story, the fellowship of recovery permits me to hear the shared experience of others struggling to endure. We do so because our lives depend on it. We do so out of resistance to the disease of addiction, which tells us to isolate and a society, which tells us we are hopeless. In this act, we identify at our core. We rely on each other as a point of identification that assures we are not alone. However, outside of the rooms, we face a clear distinction in a life of addiction that is either privileged or compounded by race.

Therefore, I continue to question the rash of media alerting the public to support white youth in the throes of an addiction crisis. Analysis of these interviews provides critical data toward the way youth of color are culturally arranged in lower status to white youth (Collins, 1998; McDermott & Varenne, 1991). “The deficit discourse in majoritarian stories” (Solorzano & Yosso, 2002, p. 37) is made visible, exposing white privilege and a historical attachment to a deprived, marginalized individual often perpetuated in the process (Baretto, 2014; Collins, 1998). In their struggling through states of denial, dominate groups construct a biased and racialized view of the addict. There is a sense of astonishment that entitled white youth can succumb to such afflictions. Yet for the anonymous other, the person who many draw a line within themselves to assure they will not be, we receive the message that we are disregarded. So we live unobtrusively, in an indispensible, oppositional consciousness (Sandoval, 2000). This may be the reason why you would never know there are millions of us world wide, from every race, religion, and creed, living among you in silent recovery.


Barreto, J.(2014). Epistemologies of the South and Human Rights: Santos and the Quest   for Global and Cognitive Justice. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 21(2),  395-422. Indiana University Press.

Collins, P. H. (1998). The tie that binds: Race, gender and US violence. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 21(5), 917-938.

de Certeau, M. (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lorde, A. (1977). The transformation of silence into language and action. Sister outsider: Essays and speeches, 81-84.

Varenne, H., & McDermott, R. (1995). Culture as disability. Anthropology and   Education Quarterly, 26, 324-348.

Reith, G. (2004). Consumption and its discontents: Addiction, identity and the problems of freedom. The British journal of sociology, 55(2), 283-300.

Sandoval, C. (2000). Methodology of the Oppressed (Vol. 18). U of Minnesota Press.

Solorzano, D. G., & Yosso, T. J. (2002). Critical race methodology: Counter-storytelling as an analytical framework for education research. Qualitative inquiry, 8(1), 23-44.

Solorzano, D. G., & Yosso, T. J. (2001). From racial stereotyping and deficit discourse toward a critical race theory in teacher education. Multicultural education, 9(1), 2.

West, C., Ferguson, R., Gever, M., & Minh-Ha, T. T. (1990). Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures.


3 thoughts on “The Anonymous Other (an introduction)

  1. WOW! I will be VERY interested to read the full paper. I like the use of storytelling that CRT employs. My only critique would be that I had trouble with was the use of conjunctions to start sentences. I know that grammatically it is not improper, but I think it was the frequency made it harder for me to read.

    Your paper is very important and I hope that you get to present it. I would also love to read it…did I already mention that 😉


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