Friday, June 12, 2015

The Self-Identification Conundrum

In today's edition of "Opening Pandora's Box" we consider the curious case of Eastern Washington University adjunct professor and Spokane, Washington NAACP President Rachel Dolezal.  Dolezal claims African-American heritage--saying that she is the daughter of a bi-racial couple.  She teaches Black Studies at a couple of colleges, and often uses the term "we" in describing the "struggle of African-Americans". 

Dolezal recently claimed to be the victim of a hate crime, saying that she received threatening, racist letters containing pictures of lynchings.  Police investigated the matter and as you might expect, the case got a lot of publicity.  But then things got complicated when police found out that Dolezal is not in any way, shape or form African-American.  In fact, her parents are going to the national media to let everyone know that they are not black and have no African-American lineage.

This has led to all sorts of embarrassment for Ms Dolezal--who claimed not to know what a reporter meant when he asked her about being African-American:

Now this is not the first time that Dolezal has claimed to be the target of racism for being "black".  In 2010 she quit a job saying she was the victim of workplace discrimination and in 2009, she claimed to have found a noose in her front yard.  Police investigated that matter and couldn't connect the rope to anyone in particular.  In fact, there are plenty of questions about Dolezal's latest hate crime claims as one of the letters wasn't even postmarked--and the other was wrapped in a plastic bag "so as not to produce any fingerprints".

But in this post-Caitlyn Jenner society, why should it matter if Dolezal is black or 100% Caucasian?  We have heard time and again this year that anatomy, biology and genetics do not matter--it is what a person "believes themselves to be" that everybody else should accept and accommodate.  So if Rachel Dolezal says she is black and demands the status of being in a protected class, I guess we have no right to stop her from doing that.

So keep fighting the good fight, Sistah.  We shall overcome.

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