Controversy began recently when her parents exposed the truth that Dolezal is and always has been a white woman, and Dolezal’s adopted brother, Ezra, accused her of “coopting” the racial struggle of black Americans and posing in “blackface.” Over the years, Miss Dolezal apparently applied self-tanner to her face to make it appear increasingly darker, so invoking racist theatrical makeup does indeed seem apt.
It’s perfectly understandable that a white person would care deeply about the plight of black Americans. It’s also admirable that she would become personally involved and devote her life to the cause.
But what could have produced Miss Dolezal’s neurotic insecurity about being a white person who cared about black issues? What could have turned Dolezal’s sympathy for Black Americans into stealing their identity and tricking people into thinking that she herself was black?
The answer must lie in the bizarre culture of political correctness. Since its frightening heyday in the 1990s, political correctness has espoused two strange and contradictory tenets. The first of these is that only people who belong to particular racial groups have standing to comment on those groups and their problems.
The second is that race (like gender nowadays) is so fluid that one race cannot be distinguished from another. Anyone who even came near a public school in the 1990s would have heard these two ideas proclaimed smugly by teachers, and parroted mechanically by young pupils.
So according to liberal logic, if the concept of race is fluid, and only people of a given race can champion that race’s issues, then I suppose it follows that Rachel Dolezal can masquerade as a black woman if she wants - just as American Senator Elizabeth Warren posed (unsuccessfully) as a Native American.
So it may seem ironic that Dolezal’s imposture has not been well received. At least, not as well received as Bruce Jenner’s transformation into a woman: just look at the comments section of any online newspaper. Citing Jenner’s example, people have been tweeting (often derisively) about the absurd concept of being “transracial.” But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before cultural Marxists and sociologists start repeating it in earnest.
What this tells me is that liberals need to make up their minds. Either race matters or it doesn’t - either it’s real or it isn’t. Either anyone can champion a cause on its own merits, or not. There is nothing wrong with taking an interest in a group of people who are somehow different from you. But there is something fundamentally dishonest about impersonating another race or ethnicity in order to make one’s own voice seem authentic.
It is arguably racist and degrading as well. But the weirdest part about it is that it gives the lie to the old triumphalist liberal doctrine that race doesn’t matter or isn’t real. If race doesn’t matter, why are people like Dolezal so insecure about it that they steal other people’s racial and ethnic identities? This merits a very serious discussion, I think.
In fact Dolezal has proven that race matters very much - so much, in fact, that her entire life’s work might not have been taken seriously if she had been believed to be a white woman. A mature person who genuinely believes in the merits of her cause wouldn't have cared, though.
But while partisans of the soft Left come to terms with this their most recent embarrassment, and hopefully come to their senses, the rest of us will get on with our lives.
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