Race as social construct embodied.
If Rachel Dolezal didn’t exist, someone would have had to invent her because she so embodies everything that is wrong with race-based politics and theories so prevalent in Higher Ed.
Dolezal is white. Elizabeth Warren white. As Mark Steyn once put it with regard to Warren, “the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out.”
Warren passed herself off as Native American, but mostly in secret so she could get put on a list of Minority Law Teachers in a 1980s directory used for hiring.
Dolezal was very public in her adoption of a black identity. And she’s standing by it.
Because Dolezal feels black, she says she is. It’s what is called among the campus activist class “lived experience.”
It is a well-worn script:
Rachel Dolezal — fresh off of stepping down as head of the Spokane NAACP chapter over criticism that she’s portrayed herself as black, even though she was born white — stood by that self-assessment Tuesday, insisting, “I identify as black.”
Dolezal did not deny her biological parents are white or that she has changed how she looks at herself over the years in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. And she admitted not having corrected various published reports over the years labeling her as transracial, biracial and black.
At the same time, Dolezal — while admitting she might have conducted some interviews differently — insisted she’d do the same thing again overall when it comes to how she has portrayed herself racially.
“My life has been one of survival,” she said. “And the decisions that I have made along the way have been to survive and to carry forward in my journey and life continuum.”
Put reality aside in this narrative, you are what you feel you are, and race is merely a social construct. So why can’t Dolezal construct herself as she wishes.
That view is more widely accepted than you might think:
Dolezal is disturbing for many people because she marks a cultural fault line. Like it or not, we have entered into an era of elective race — a time when people expect that one has a right and dignity to claim the identity of one’s choice….
As much as critics try to characterize Dolezal’s behavior as a fraudulent choice, sociologists and psychologists know that decisions about racial and ethnic identity are typically not merely expressive, strategic, or apolitical, but are driven by social conditions.
Growing up in a family with black siblings exposed Dolezal to the reality of discrimination and made her more sensitive to its effects. It probably helped her understand the contrast between the reality of black lives and white privilege. Other similar experiences, such as marrying an African-American and having black children, also make white people more sensitive to racism.
Dolezal likely became politically and socially conscious about these issues because of her experiences in an interracial family. In this sense, her parents must be proud of the child they raised….
Dolezal’s case forces us to examine our society, which made her feel that passing for a black woman was her best choice in her advocacy for African American issues. She forces us to consider whether our biology or our action is more important to identity, and should we act in ways that honor our chosen identity in meaningful ways. We should not have to be slaves to the biological definition of identity, and we should not use race or gender identities as weapons to punish one another.
Affirmative action already is under legal pressure because it is racism, albeit with some limited legal sanction in education and elsewhere.
In upholding Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in higher ed, the Supreme Court wrote:
“Before the Court addresses the question presented, it is important to note what this case is not about. It is not about the constitutionality, or the merits, of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education. The consideration of race in admissions presents complex questions, in part addressed last Term in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 570 U. S. ––– (2013). In Fisher, the Court did not disturb the principle that the consideration of race in admissions is permissible, provided that certain conditions are met. In this case, as in Fisher, that principle is not challenged. The question here concerns not the permissibility of race-conscious admissions policies under the Constitution but whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions.”
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“Perhaps, when enacting policies as an exercise of democratic self-government, voters will determine that racebased preferences should be adopted. The constitutional validity of some of those choices regarding racial preferences is not at issue here. The holding in the instant caseis simply that the courts may not disempower the votersfrom choosing which path to follow.
In what world should Rachel Dolezal benefit from Affirmative Action?
Rachel Dolezal could be Exhibit A in the next push to ban Affirmative Action.DONATE
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