June 17, 2015

"As a historian who has spent the last 12 years studying 'passing,' I am disheartened that there is so little sympathy for Ms. Dolezal or understanding of her life circumstances."

"The harsh criticism of her sounds frighteningly similar to the way African-Americans were treated when it was discovered that they had passed as white. They were vilified, accused of deception and condemned for trying to gain membership to a group to which they did not and could never belong.... But Ms. Dolezal’s view of herself — however confused, or incongruent with society’s — reveals an essential truth about race: It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology. It must be 'made' from what people believe and do. Race is performative. It is the memories that bind us, the stories passed down to us, the experiences that we share, the social forces that surround us. Identities are never entirely our own, but does that mean that we should lose all control in determining who we are?...  It may come as a surprise that there have been many such cases of whites passing as black.... There is no essentialized, fixed, 'true identity' waiting just below the surface. Identities are contingent.... While we cannot know how Rachel Dolezal understood her place in the world, neither her choice nor the unsavory entanglements it has wrought are unique.... [P]erhaps we can use Ms. Dolezal’s story, puzzling as it is, as an opportunity to have a candid, lively, long-delayed, public conversation about the knotty meanings of race and racial identity.... "

From a NYT op-ed titled "Rachel Dolezal’s Unintended Gift to America," by Allyson Hobbs, the author of "A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life," whose name came up on this blog a couple days ago.

106 comments:

MisterBuddwing said...

There are people who become fascinated with cultures other than the one they were born into. There are people who, for specific reasons, try to "pass" as a member of another race, ethnicity, religion, etc.

But Rachel Dolezal seems to have crossed a line by actually thinking she can will herself into being a member of a different race. And that, I'm guessing, is what so many people find disconcerting - that, in their view, she's being delusional.

Quaestor said...

Microaggression. The NYT must be banned. <\3

EMD said...

I honestly think that she could continue to work for the NAACP as a white woman. There's nothing that precludes her from assisting the advancement of colored peoples. Certainly her actual race shouldn't be a factor.

This story is already way overblown.

Greg Hlatky said...

I have little sympathy for Ms. Dolezal and am not interested in understanding her life circumstances.

Quaestor said...

If an historian spends 12 years studying passing and does not see the fundamental difference between a desperate attempt to escape grinding racism and what Rachel Dolezal (Spellcheck wants to covert her name to doleful. Jung would have been pleased.) has done makes me suspect the historian is also doing a bit of Dolezal-style passing.

Dr.D said...

"... an essential truth about race: It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology."

Horsefeathers!! How foolish can one person be? Talk about denial of reality!!

Quaestor said...

I'm going to have lots of fun with the 2020 census.

Anonymous said...

"But Ms. Dolezal’s view of herself — however confused, or incongruent with society’s — reveals an essential truth about race: It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology. "

Excellent! Glad to hear it!

Since it's a "choice", that means there's absolutely no reason to reward people for it, so let's get rid of every single "affirmative action" program, every single "minority set aside", every single "disparate impact" claim, and just go with individual merit.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and "But Ms. Dolezal’s view of herself — however confused, or incongruent with society’s — reveals an essential truth about race: It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology. "


So who you chose to have sex with is not a "choice", but your "race" is? Good to know.

sdharms said...

this article is B.S. She is mentally ill or a liar. As is Elizabeth Warren.

Gahrie said...

God damn, Black people have spent 30 years telling me that I can't understand their struggle because I'm not Black....and now it's
"Oh race doesn't actually matter, it's how you feel?"

Bullshit.


By the way, i'm entirely uninterested in the opinions on race of someone who has spent 12 years studying Blacks who "pass". This person has an obvious ax to grind.

tim in vermont said...

Remember the Indian in the famous ad crying a tear over pollution in America? He had a lot of similarities, if you are looking for some kind of syndrome.

His name was Iron Eyes Cody. A Fake Indian:

Cody was born Espera DeCorti in Louisiana in 1904 to Italian-immigrant parents. Sometime in the 1920s, he started passing himself off as native American and typically dressed in mocasins and buckskins for most of his life. Though not born an Indian, he lived as one and insisted against documentation to the contrary that he was one. He married a native American woman and adopted two Indian boys. He died in 1999. - Snopes

He was a lot more convincing than Elizabeth Warren, that's for sure.

Freeman Hunt said...

I do think it is horrible that journalists are now tearing apart her entire life. I see nothing in her story that justifies that.

Jon Burack said...

I am astounded at both the left and the right's obsession with this story. To me it is all a bit silly. Does this really reveal "an essential truth about race: It is a fiction, a social construct" etc.? It seems to me this woman has a lot on her mind that has no real applicability to any issue at all - plus some deep character flaws given all the lies and false accusations she has concocted while "constructing" her fictional racial identity.

I like especially EMD's point - "I honestly think that she could continue to work for the NAACP as a white woman. There's nothing that precludes her from assisting the advancement of colored peoples." I agree. Plus this gives me a chance to now come and praise my own family. For there was a time when whites were central figures in the NAACP and the civil rights movement, white Jews in particular. And two very central ones were Kivie Kaplan, a cousin of my mother and Arnie Aronson, whose wife was another cousin of my mother. Kivie was president of the NAACP 1966-1975. Arnie was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Clinton. Both are referred to in this piece (paragraph four) about the air-brushing of the Jews out of the film "Selma":

http://jewishcurrents.org/where-is-heschel-34924

Ah, yes, those were the days. You could be white and be president of the whole darn NAACP, and you did not even have to lie about it. Aren't we so much better off now in the age of identity.

Jon Burack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

"There's nothing that precludes her from assisting the advancement of colored peoples."

Exactly and the fact that she not only does not want to do so but is faking "hate crimes" and blustering about white actors playing blacks is what makes her look crazy or deceitful.

I know a doctor who went to Howard Medical School many years ago, he is 90, and he looks white to me. I asked him recently about it and he told me his father was black. He grew up in New Orleans and has a southern accent but looks as white as I do. He is not faking, he is just being himself. I'm sure he could have "passed" if he wanted to.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Well it's obvious by the inclusion of "American" this is racist against all non-Americans.

Would it were so other country's don't feel "American" even though Obama's BLACK.

Now errbody don't feelz 'Merican yo.

Top to bottom y'all.

TOP ta BUSSUUUUZZS y'all.

Except the military and sometimes police and firemoneymen and nurses and occasional teachers and suchlike.

Myself: Betamax3000 used to talk about some things that in hindsight seem to be "blueprints to moneymakin'" I think/hope.

rhhardin said...

Blackness is about running a certain social scam. That's why Clarence Thomas, Condelissa Rice, Walter Williams, Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell aren't really black.

The scam is "We can't behave any better until you pay because it's your fault."

Look at the list again.

Laslo Spatula said...

" [P]erhaps we can use Ms. Dolezal’s story, puzzling as it is, as an opportunity to have a candid, lively, long-delayed, public conversation about the knotty meanings of race and racial identity.... "

We ARE having it. Knotty, but Yes.

I would even say Gnarled.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

Derbyshire says the average black IQ is 86, and he's probably got the number right, knowing Derbyshire.

That proves there's a genetic race difference. It overlaps the black as social scammer, mostly owing to MSM appointed really dysfunctional "black leaders."

Derbyshire thinks IQ matters a lot. I don't.

I think the MSM and the black leaders they appoint matter a lot.

Quaestor said...

Anyone who wants to take the phenomenon of passing lightly will have to explain why English has so many specific words for person of mixed European and African -- there's quadroon (one fourth black), and octaroon (one eighth black), there's even a quintroon, although one would have to consider a very, very long pedigree before anyone could even approach being one fifth anything. And then there's mulatto for a male person of unspecified mixed ancestry, and mulatta for the corresponding female. In defense of our beloved language I must point out that all these terms are borrowed from Spanish.

Words exist for a reason, and because these regrettable words exist it stands to reason that people have considered these things important, in other words identity politics is an ancient sin. Yesterday they were used to exclude people from deserved benefits. Today they're not used explicitly, yet the concept remains as a means to bestow or obtain undeserved benefits. Rachel Dolezal's reverse passing was simple fraud, a confidence trick intended to garner undeserved benefits.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

As the greatest historian Althouse has ever had to consider, ya' know, cause they talked bad about gingers and all, here it is:

NotquiteunBuckley said...

You think I won't, you just keep on thinking I won't, but I'll do it again:

PB said...

Thanks to Rachel , we can now check the box that best suits us and helps us achieve our desires. Isn't being forced into (checking) a box that can't accurately describe us something far more evil than a micro aggression?

Bob Boyd said...

Did she take benefits meant for the racially disadvantaged? I don't know.

But if she did, what is the difference between that and an able bodied person taking benefits meant for the disabled?

Anonymous said...

Really, Republicans and Conservatives are passing up a great opportunity here to bring the whole racial game to it's knees.

C'mon people! Get on the bus with us! No more should anyone in this nation identify as white male.

Remember, if everyone is a minority, then no one is a minority.

That's a good thing!

Anonymous said...

Quote all the thumbsuckers you like, but the whole thing will never be anything but hilarious.

tim in vermont said...

But if she did, what is the difference between that and an able bodied person taking benefits meant for the disabled?

Ask Elisabeth Warren, she gets a pass on it, she must know the difference.

Quaestor said...

NotquiteunBuckley won't do it, but Quaestor will.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Okay okay okay this stalkerwiselike (ht Ace of Spades who made me understand these(!) are REAL people we discuss/trash/ennoble/support/encourage differently) behavior is slightly notquiteextraordinary as is my critique "hey y'alls definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet Heisenberg says as you look things change keep being insane things change how 'bout a single honest true-to-God recognition of time?"

Terry said...

Calling race a social construct isn't particularly helpful. At one time people believed the Earth was at the center of the center of the solar system. They used reason to determine this. If you were to tell an educated person in the 16th century that the Sun was at the center of the solar system, and that a close examination of nature would prove that this was so, he would respond that the senses, we know, can deceive us, but that reason cannot deceive us.

glenn said...

Here's a helpful hint for Ms Dobbs. Rachael identified as African American to gain an advantage in either University admission or employment. Dark skinned Immigrants from India are doing exactly the same thing. You made the rules, live with the result.

Fen said...

It was fraud. Stop trying to normalize fraud.

HT said...

Lots of nervous energy now, maybe I will calm down by doing some commenting....

What I question are the young people who may have looked to the NAACP as a resource, where they'd go with questions and opportunities to explore, do research. I might feel a little confused and maybe betrayed if I found out my local leader was not black. As far as I'm concerned she's not black. Not that my opinion matters.

The other thing I noticed was that when a white person raises major racial questions, we listen. Remember Eric Holder? Who listened to him? No one.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

I stand before you as a man who thought of the greatest comeback against his core imaginable save God.

James Pawlak said...

Dr. Martin Luther King's hope: "I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.".

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Come on, her 15 minutes are up already. She says she likes Black Culture. Wonder what she
likes best?

My favorite part of Black Culture? All the academic excellence.

tim in vermont said...

The other thing I noticed was that when a white person raises major racial questions, we listen. Remember Eric Holder? Who listened to him?

That's because he was blaming racism as motivation for legitimate questions about his actions as AG.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

GOOGLE ADORED ME!!

You want proof?

STALKERWISELIKE prooves GOOGLE ADORES ME!!!

So come on an be:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzhbGaCwBzs



Lyle said...

nonsense

HT said...

That's because he was blaming racism as motivation for legitimate questions about his actions as AG.

_________

I don't know about that. I remember him saying that when it comes to TALKING about race, we in the US are wimps. Or cowards. We don't want to be or make others feel uncomfortable. It didn't get much traction. I guess we have to have our debates and deep thinking embodied or dramatized.

traditionalguy said...

Race mixing is not a bad thing. It makes a superior offspring. But Racial culture differences remain a great contrast game people play as do the games of of rich or poor, country boy or city boy, Catholic or Christian, Capitalist free market man or Communist enslaved man, Japanese or Korean, etc..

The tribal security reward of being deemed one of our kind or not being deemed one our kind is easiest to play using simple shades of skin pigmentation, and also as GBS pointed out with speech accents and pronunciation. Blind have to hear it to play. Deaf and blind have to smell it to play.

But the only place the game seems to go away on earth is in the presence of a Pentecostal Holy Spirit grouping where knowing God is present makes it disappear.

TennLion said...

IMHO she can identify as she wishes. But her outre background stories (born in a teepee, living in South Africa, beaten with a whip) and most especially, her eight or nine false charges of racial hate crimes, completely discredit her as a sane person. And her false reports should be prosecuted.

Gabriel said...

Let's assume that "race" is a "social construct" and let's assume that "social constructs" can change whenever we decide (huge, huge assumptions).

Racial set-asides, quotas, protected classes, discrimination lawsuits and affirmative action hiring and admissions policies are ALSO "social constructs". With very concrete consequences for real life.

If we're going to let people slide at will, then where do we end up?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

The performers: This is good, and we are doing it good.

The audience: Holy Christ.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ADCIwotmDg

SGT Ted said...

"... an essential truth about race: It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology."

You can ID a persons race by examining their bones. Her uneducated assertion is the construct here and it's a political one.

So, biology wins over idiotic political assertions of credentialed morons who know nothing about biology or race.

David said...

Sorry, African American passing was a matter of social survival in a time of repression. It was also done by people who, by nature of their white ancestry, indeed could pass for white because they looked (and were) white. They were faced with a law that classified them as black even if they were physically white. Rachel gained vocational and political advantage over others (both black and white) by reason of her lies. She had to know this was politically explosive, and that it would hurt the cause she claims to be passionate about.

If the historian can't intuit the difference between a light skinned mixed race black person in Jim Crow America trying to pass, and a white woman who is good with makeup in the 21st century doing the same, there is probably no explaining it to him.

Rick said...

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2015/06/17/rachel-dolezal-called-for-boycott-exodus-film-due-to-white-actors-playing/?intcmp=latestnews

People are trying to defend her by claiming that the issue doesn't effect those outside the left. But it does. Here she is calling for a movie boycott because it portrays whites passing as black. It reveals the entire campaign of racism outrage as a sham. Here's someone actually leading that charge for whom the issue was big enough to berate the country yet was so unimportant she did it herself.

Virgil Hilts said...

Freeman Hunt said: "I do think it is horrible that journalists are now tearing apart her entire life. I see nothing in her story that justifies that." I would agree, except she seems intent on making a lot of horrible accusations that (it is possible) may be fabricated: (i) urging her younger sister to assert child abuse claims against her older brother relating to events that happened 13-14 years ago; (ii) accusing her older brother of also sexually assaulting her; (iii) claiming her parents physically abused her as a child, (iv) claiming her ex-husband committed years of sexual and physical abuse against her and actually filmed his sexual assaults. Given her willingness to accuse so may people of abuse (suing Howard for medical and emotional distress arising out of being subjected to discrimination, intimidation, ridicule, and insult), I think that her pathological dishonesty is newsworthy (though I am growing really bored of the whole story).

David said...

What the hell does it mean that race is a construct, anyway? Race exists. People from different parts of the world have different physical characteristics. It's really quite wonderful and beautiful. The "construct" is what we make of race, how we use it for power, how we react to it socially and politically. That's the construct, not race itself.

Skeptical Voter said...

Most people, black, brown, red, yellow, or white in this country were raised by their mamas(assuming they had one that stuck around) to tell the truth. Ms. Dolezal did not get the message, and is rightly a subject of scorn.

David said...

I agree with Freeman that the press is doing its usual thing of ignoring the personal consequence to the subject to sell the story. But this is what the press does. Nor do I think that she was forced to go on Good Morning America (or whatever she was on.) She has a history of showing up in front of the cameras. It's just that practically nobody was watching before.

n.n said...

Race is as much fiction as gender or human evolution from conception. That said, race is a complex amalgamation of biological, cultural, and social factors; beginning with a woman, man, and their Posterity.

Anyway, this is not about Dolezal per se, but about the social complex, and the civil rights industry specifically, that denigrate individual dignity, and are not pursuing an equitable reconciliation of the two moral axioms, but are rather for-profit, political, social corporations which provide a service that poisons human relationships.

Fen said...

There are four lights. Bruce is male. Rachel is white. We refuse to deny reality, because we know all kinds of mischief will follow.

There are four lights.

http://i793.photobucket.com/albums/yy214/ProcessOfBelief_2010/Cracked%20stuff/four-lights1.jpg

David53 said...

She's gonna make a lot of money.

Anglelyne said...

Paul Zrimsek: Quote all the thumbsuckers you like, but the whole thing will never be anything but hilarious.

True to form, P-Zrim says it all, in the pithiest form possible.

MayBee said...

There is not one person who would bat an eye if a black or asian or Indian person were to "pass" as white. That isn't even a thing these days.

That it is the minorities who are unhappy that a white person would try to "pass" as a minority just shows what a long way our nation has come.

MayBee said...

Paul Z should have a book with his quips.

Fernandinande said...

"I Bet I Can Speak Spanish"

glenn said...
Dark skinned Immigrants from India are doing exactly the same thing.


Would they be Indian Americans or American Indians?

David said...
What the hell does it mean that race is a construct, anyway?


It's something that NYT scribblers and their ilk repeat to each other despite knowing it's not true; a social-status signal.

And:
"In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better.

When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself." -- Theodore Dalrymple

MayBee said...

Or cowards. We don't want to be or make others feel uncomfortable.

Those who claim micro aggressions are coming from Eric Holder's side.

William said...

Jenner got trapped in the body of an Olympic Decathalon champion. Oh, boo hoo. You should see the body I'm trapped in. Rachel was born into the body of an attractive blond woman. More boo hoo. If I were born into the body of attractive blonde, I would just stay home with a full length mirror and find ways to keep entertained besides racial dysmorphism.,,,, The point is that both of these transistors were actually given a pretty good deal in life's lottery, but determined that they deserved better. I'm not sure how much of their behavior is delusional, but I'm pretty sure self aggrandizement is a big part of their motivation......In a sneaky way, I kind of admire Rachel though. She has been caught in an obvious and embarrassing lie, but she remains articulate and self assured. Her self confidence is not necessarily a sign of character, but she plays it out as though it were,

MadisonMan said...

Why does Rachel Dolezal invest so much energy in being one particular race?

That's an interesting question, perhaps, but really, the attention being thrown her way is far out of proportion to anything that should be happening.

Sam L. said...

To the NYT: HAH! You and the worm you crawled in on.

William said...

When you think of all the lies and frauds that went down in Ferguson, and all the businesses, reputations, and careers that were ruined because of them, then you should put Rachel in perspective. She's comic relief in the epic drama of America's race relations.

Chuck said...

That whole op-ed sounds like a terrific argument against affirmative action.

Race is fluid, it is personal, it is a social construct, it isn't black-and-white, and it isn't clearly biological. "Race is performative." "Identities are contingent, elusive and, as the cultural theorist Stuart Hall argued, 'always in process'...”

And yet with all of that mushy relativity, on the basis of race alone, we still are willing to skew life-changing decisions on university admissions and corporate hiring?

MayBee said...

That's an interesting question, perhaps, but really, the attention being thrown her way is far out of proportion to anything that should be happening.

IT's better than covering the huge OPM hack, the lack of a ME strategy, or trying to figure out what's up with China and our Asian trade policy.

Real American said...

it's one thing to identify with another culture as Dolezal has done. I don't agree with her interpretation of politics or the world, frankly, and she's probably just another SJW nutjob (redundant, I know), but if she feels more comfortable around blacks and in that "culture" whatever that is, I don't give a shit, and most others don't either.

The problem is she darkened her skin, lied about her background, including misidentifying a dark skinned black man as her father, and told people she WAS black when she is NOT. She's a fucking liar. Reality is that she's a white girl. She went to great lengths to perpetrate this fraud, which makes her, well, a fraud. People who are liars don't stop lying because they got caught. She's trying to rationalize, i.e., bullshit, her way through this mess by blaming others AND still claiming she's black. Well, it's bullshit and people should treat it as bullshit and her as a bullshitter. She has zero credibility.

People should not go along with her lies. That just enables the liar, but there is a group of people who do this because she's ideologically simpatico with them, and they'd like nothing more than to blur objective reality as much as possible because it makes it easier to lie about other stuff, such as a man being a woman, two men being in a "marriage", illegal aliens being American or a community organizer being qualified to be president.

And as for historically "passing" as another race, it's almost always been passing as white, and I bet you 100% of the blacks who have done it have had some white ancestry, so it's not really passing as white. They were white! or at least, partially.

MayBee said...

And as for historically "passing" as another race, it's almost always been passing as white, and I bet you 100% of the blacks who have done it have had some white ancestry, so it's not really passing as white. They were white! or at least, partially.

But the concept does not even exist today.
Anybody who wants to live as a white person is free to do so. Or, at least it won't be white people criticizing the choice.

Quaestor said...

That whole op-ed sounds like a terrific argument against affirmative action.

It knocks the whole corrupt institution into a cocked hat. If racial and/or sexual identity is just a matter of personal choice as Bruce Jenner and his myrmidons claim (Quaestor will never, ever refer to Jenner by the feminine pronoun. You got yourself a Y chromosome there, buddy. Figure out how to replace it with an X and then we'll talk.) then all the government or court-mandated set-asides are bullshit, and everyone who ever lost a contract bid or a place in law scholar med school because of such policies has suffered a tort.

Sebastian said...

"It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology. It must be 'made' from what people believe and do. Race is performative"

Good to know affirmative action is based on fiction and just made from what people believe.

Of course, social fictions are real in their consequences. You don't "perform" black in the eyes of liberal college admissions officers? No 450 extra SAT points on college entrance for you.

And as always, there's the white male exception: white men have a real race, with real privilege, whatever they "do," or however they "perform."

HT said...

But race is a thing, at least it still is a thing, hasn't been abolished.

Not anyone who wants to live as a white person is free to do so.

I wish people would just be clear. I have no idea what a micro aggression is, and I don't care to.

Rae said...

If race and gender are fluid, based on subjective, personal preferences, then why does anyone choose to be a member of an oppressed minority? We should just declare everyone to be straight, white males, and extend the benefits of White Privilege to all!

In one stroke we could correct centuries of abuse. We just have to really believe. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Skyler said...

The difference between blacks trying to pass for white before was that they were reacting to an injustice.

This white woman passing herself as black is stealing from the largess of society that is (supposedly) helping blacks to right an injustice. I no longer believe this fiction, but that is the legal theory. Blacks, by this theory, are unable to compete without this leg up so she is white and getting a leg up. This is stealing from society. She does not rate this largess and "feeling" black is insufficient to take from the society that granted this largess and the blacks who supposedly need it.

She deserves scorn and ridicule, if not a jail sentence.

averagejoe said...

HT said...

HT said...
The other thing I noticed was that when a white person raises major racial questions, we listen. Remember Eric Holder? Who listened to him? No one.
6/17/15, 7:35 PM

tim in vermont said...
That's because he was blaming racism as motivation for legitimate questions about his actions as AG.
_________

I don't know about that. I remember him saying that when it comes to TALKING about race, we in the US are wimps. Or cowards. We don't want to be or make others feel uncomfortable. It didn't get much traction. I guess we have to have our debates and deep thinking embodied or dramatized.

6/17/15, 7:53 PM

Seems to me like this kerfuffle is pretty obviously part of the conversation about race. And the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown incidences became part of the conversation on race. And BlackLivesMatter and BlackBrunch are part of the conversation on race. In fact, there's been a whole lot of race-based conversing since Li'l Barry became president, so Holder was wrong about that as well. The problem is one side doesn't like that there is a conversation about race because they think only they should be allowed to speak and only they have the answers. So when something like this comes up, those people don't like the turn the conversation has taken, so they start yelling or threatening or storm off- Conversation over! They only want a lecture on race, and they want to give it and make the others shut up and take it. It's the same way they treat a conversation about Climate Change or the legitimacy of a Clinton presidential run- When the opposition speaks up, they freak out and start flinging poo, and accuse the other side of lying, of being ignorant, of being evil, of being unqualified to hold an opinion, screeching Racist! Sexist! Denier! And if you don't agree with what I just wrote, then you are worse than Hitler...

Terry said...

"It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology."
Calling something a "social construct" means only that it is something society does. Did you go through all the steps required to duplicate Darwin's work? No? Then evolution is just a social construct. Biology, the study of living things, is a social construct. Money is a social construct. History is a social construct. This is an abuse of the literary theory called structuralism.
The fact that something is a social construct does not mean that it is good, or bad, or that it is capable of being changed or eliminated.

Skyler said...

And if this is not condemned by the blacks in society, especially the "community organizers" then it will be the undoing of the whole racial quotas masquerading as "affirmative action."

Or it will be the beginning of a racial purity test based on ideology instead of racial characteristics. A lot of blacks would love to kick Clarence Thomas out of the black pool, for instance.

HT said...

" So when something like this comes up, those people don't like the turn the conversation has taken, so they start yelling or threatening or storm off"

This is what I feel that Holder was talking about. That whites AND blacks get sooo oversensitive that we can't really say what's on our mind. We can't friggin hold a conversation. Wall Street/black lives matter/other movements - no, that's not what I feel Holder had in mind. The way I interpret it was that whites and blacks ("ordinary whites and blacks") needed to be able to listen and express ourselves and not huff off. That's why he called us (ALL of us) cowards.

Then you go on to say "they they they" more "those people" and I thought your comments were less relevant.

Scott M said...

Is the historian aware that claiming race is a social construct is now verboten? The Californian university system says so.

Browndog said...

I'm still looking for the genesis of the term "social construct" as it is applied the the modern liberal lexicon-

Certain, I am, as with most cases (i.e. disparate impact), it was used in a book, probably published in the 70's by some obscure academic.

It's always the same. Invent new terms to describe theorems that perpetuate the ideology that the individual is the enemy of the collective.

Spoon fed marxism is easier to swallow, especially--maybe uniquely--for Americans.

MayBee said...

Well, Eric Holder was the Attorney General of the United States of America for six years. He was free to explicitly start any conversation he wanted started.

What did he say? What conversation did he start?

The Godfather said...

There is a lesson to be learned, but Rachel and Allyson are exactly the wrong people to teach it, because they don't understand it: A person's race doesn't matter. It's the content of his or her character that matters, as a wise man once put it. If it's the content of your character that matters, you don't need to dye your skin or kink your hair.

If I had the power, I'd issue an edict that everyone is hereby declared to be White (or Black, if you prefer; the point is, that everyone is the same race). No need for quotas for jobs or college admissions; no whining about "White privilege"; no restricted clubs and organizations; no "first Black president". Would some formerly Black people still need some extra help? Sure, and so would some people who were already White. You would help those who needed help and could profit from it, not just those who had a particular skin color.

Wouldn't that be a better system?

Browndog said...

The left:

Race is everything; as we have told you all of your life, it's the most crucial thing in American society, as we can not go forward until it's addressed

no justice, no peace.

Race is nothing. It's fake. Made up, constructed out of whole cloth. Merely a social construct.

no justice, no peace

Terry said...

It's literary structuralism. Everything is a text. Society is the author of the text. You and everyone else are the equivalent of characters in a text. Maybe you are a cowboy in a Western novel. You are fully conscious of choosing to be a cowboy, but of course you had no choice at all. The author of the text made you a cowboy. As a cowboy, you don't know that you are a character in a western novel, you are just doing what you think that you have to do.
This is the latest manifestation of century-old statism. You think that you are free? That you choose to act certain way based on a sense of ethics you have devoted yourself to? Nonsense. Your personality is an accident, a mess of neuroses with possibly some mental illness thrown in. Your beliefs depend on what you are taught, what your animal interests are, random things that have significance to you and no one else, and possibly some congenital mental condition. The state can make make moral decisions based on careful reasoning. You can't.

averagejoe said...

HT said...
" So when something like this comes up, those people don't like the turn the conversation has taken, so they start yelling or threatening or storm off"

This is what I feel that Holder was talking about. That whites AND blacks get sooo oversensitive that we can't really say what's on our mind. We can't friggin hold a conversation. Wall Street/black lives matter/other movements - no, that's not what I feel Holder had in mind. The way I interpret it was that whites and blacks ("ordinary whites and blacks") needed to be able to listen and express ourselves and not huff off. That's why he called us (ALL of us) cowards.

Then you go on to say "they they they" more "those people" and I thought your comments were less relevant.

6/17/15, 9:50 PM

Black and white are not the only races, as the Asians who are discriminated against in the California university system would like to point out.

Eric Holder is the hypocrite who orchestrated the stonewalling of the "Fast and Furious" congressional investigation, and when challenged and reprimanded by rep. Gohmert for withholding documents, went running to Al Sharpton's racist National Action Network to cry racism. So punk bitch piece-of-shit Holder is hardly a paragon of honesty, openness or racial conciliation.

"they they they" and "those people" = democrat party members and progressives. That's most recently embodied by the University of California speech codes enacted to ensure that, among other things, nobody is allowed to assert or even say that "America is a melting pot" or that "the job should go to whoever is most qualified". Why would someone, educators and academics no less, insist that such phrases be forbidden? Is it because they are untrue? Is it because they are hurtful or dangerous words? Or is it because these phrases promote an ideal which is destructive to progressive and democrat party politics and power structures? We see the same bullying curtailing of free speech and opposing opinion whether the subject is race, sex, minimum wage laws, or climate change. The progressives simply do not want to "have a conversation"- they want dissenting opinions and opposing voices to be stifled by any means available, so that their demagoguery will be the only legally allowed sentiments and expressions. They are Stalinist, fascist and Orwellian in their methods, means, and intentions.

walter said...

"I honestly think that she could continue to work for the NAACP as a white woman. There's nothing that precludes her from assisting the advancement of colored peoples. Certainly her actual race shouldn't be a factor."

Yeah well..if ongoing manipulation of race for personal benefit makes her one of them, you may be correct.

Regarding the article: "It may come as a surprise that there have been many such cases of whites passing as black."
In the same sense as ms Rachel? DO effing tell. Bill doesn't count...neither does Ted Danson..

JohnDBandit said...

Their are folks that proclaim that they are not interested in this subject because they pity the mentally ill, and this person should not be mocked. Their are folks that proclaim that they are not interested in this subject because it is just one more example of "look a squirrel" syndrome. And their are many, many more, who have their own personal reasons to either denounce her, or support this woman.
I say: " Bullshit to everyone of you. No matter who you are, you will slow down and crane you're neck to scope out a car wreck. And this is one hell of car wreck".

walter said...

It's a special sort of car wreck.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Last year, her brother Joshua, published a book about her family: “Down From the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging,”

http://www.amazon.com/Down-Mountaintop-Belonging-Joshua-Dolezal/dp/1609382390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434612177&sr=8-1&keywords=down+mountaintop+dolezal

He is an English professor at Central College in Iowa.

Rachel Dolezal kidnapped her youngest adopted brother, Izaiah, about five years ago. I suspect to bolster her story or stories in some way.

Incidentally, she might have invented the sexual abuse story against her brother as part of an effort to keep custody - this would undermine the credibility of any testimony he might give.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The New York Times had a story yesterday that reveals a coup[le of important things or twists, some of which you have to read between the lines to see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/us/rachel-dolezal-nbc-today-show.html

One of them is the fact that somebody hired a private detective to expose her, while hiding their role. That's how she was exposed.

And some of the questions, or doubts, about her racial identity were also being deliberately spread. A columnist at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Shawn Vestal, said that he and other people at the paper were approached by a private investigator in early June, more than a week before the first news reports about Ms. Dolezal’s racial identity.

“He did have some of the evidence, or said he did, about what her parents would say about her identity,” said Mr. Vestal, who said he had agreed with the investigator that his name would not be made public.


In other words, the story was circulating amomng various kinds of media outlets, who supplied the name of her true parents, and when they went to her parents, they told the truth. Probably the private detectve agency first pretended to be reporters and checked to see what they would say, maybe pretending that otherwise they would write some damaging story about them, and when it was clear they would tell the truth, used that as the means of breaking the story. Her parents did not go forward on their own (nor could they have made this into a big story)

Now this costs money.

This is an even bigger story than Rachel Dolezal. Who, or what organization, was interested in destroying her - not just interested, but willing to invest a large sum of money?

Sammy Finkelman said...

The New York Times had a story yesterday that reveals a coup[le of important things or twists, some of which you have to read between the lines to see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/us/rachel-dolezal-nbc-today-show.html

One of them is the fact that somebody hired a private detective to expose her, while hiding their role. That's how she was exposed.

And some of the questions, or doubts, about her racial identity were also being deliberately spread. A columnist at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Shawn Vestal, said that he and other people at the paper were approached by a private investigator in early June, more than a week before the first news reports about Ms. Dolezal’s racial identity.

“He did have some of the evidence, or said he did, about what her parents would say about her identity,” said Mr. Vestal, who said he had agreed with the investigator that his name would not be made public.


In other words, the story was circulating amomng various kinds of media outlets, who supplied the name of her true parents, and when they went to her parents, they told the truth. Probably the private detectve agency first pretended to be reporters and checked to see what they would say, maybe pretending that otherwise they would write some damaging story about them, and when it was clear they would tell the truth, used that as the means of breaking the story. Her parents did not go forward on their own (nor could they have made this into a big story)

Now this costs money.

This is an even bigger story than Rachel Dolezal. Who, or what organization, was interested in destroying her - not just interested, but willing to invest a large sum of money?

Sammy Finkelman said...

Rachel Dolezal had been making false complaints to police since at least 2005. But in the earliest ones, in 2005, she was white. By 2009, she was black. She became black around 2008. She first changed her hair style and then the color of her skin ad the skin color change caused a neighbor to think at first it was different person.

She must have had help.

Tarrou said...

NPR was giving the Dolezal case a pretty sympathetic hearing. And I for one am not going to look the gift horse in the mouth. Race is a social construct you say? Well that just basically sanctifies my internet trolling going back decades! In an argument in which someone accuses you of being racist? Claim to be the race you supposedly dislike! Apply for college as whatever race you like! The floodgates are open, there is a chink in the armor. The leftist denial of reality now cannot distinguish between the categories of race and gender which are so important to them. Accused of misogyny? I'm a woman!

Brando said...

To compare a white woman who knowingly faked being black in order to advance her career and social standing with blacks who faked being white to avoid the awful life of black people under Jim Crow is offensively stupid. How dense can someone be to equate the two?

It is true that "race" is largely made up by culture, and permeable, particularly when you consider mixed race people (e.g., at what point in your ancestry are you still "black"?) and appearance can be ambiguous. All the more reason we should abandon racial classifications and treat people as individuals. But a white woman who not only faked at being black so she could advance in the NAACP and gain social credibility, but also fabricated stories of victimhood, hypocritically tore into a film for using white actors to portray nonwhite characters (!) and offered offensive excuses for her fraud (e.g., she could not raise black children as a white woman--someone call Obama's mother!) is a rotten person deserving of no sympathy.

Brando said...

There's nothing wrong with "appropriating" or "identifying" with another culture--all cultures are made of influences from other cultures (unless maybe your culture is limited to an isolated tribe on some mesa that had no contact with any outsiders for thousands of years). A white person wearing daishikis or listening to the blues or eating at soul food restaurants is just fine--shunning that would be no different from shunning blacks who adopt "white" culture (pumpkin spice lattes, dancing badly, complaining that you "can't even").

Donezal did something quite different--she claimed to actually BE black, knowing this was a lie, and did so for personal gain and not out of fear or necessity (when whites are denied the right to a fair trial, or get lynched regularly, then she might get some sympathy).

damikesc said...

So, perhaps we can undo racial preferences then.

jr565 said...

I have sympathy for her. but it's simply true that she is white. Is it lack of tolerance to point it out? That's where I think tolerance has gone to the left. To even point out a disagreement over stated facts means you are intolerant.
yes she's white. I don't hate her for it. But she's white. If I have to accept that she's black as otherwise it will hurt her feeling a and therefore Im hateful, then you're saying a person's feeling s are more important than the truth. And that's garbage.
And the left has no problem attacking conservatives over their opinions/positions.
Identity politics makes me a white guy the bad guy. That's oppositional. Dole zeal came aout and made a racial issue out of white actors playing Egyptians in the movie Exodus, and said she was going to boycott it. That's oppositional.
She has no problem playing here race card, b to she's a delicate flower and we have to understand where she's coming from. Screw that.

She's white. She's white. She's white.

jr565 said...

"reveals an essential truth about race: It is a fiction, a social construct based in culture and not biology. "

no it IS based on biology. What's cultural are things like rap music being black. All the talk of appropriation of black culture by whites beciasse they wear their hair a certain way. That's cultural. (And there the argument is bogus). But people are actually black.
Why does the left have a need to turn everything into non things that only exist because they are social constructs. Even though we can clearly see they are things despite culture. For example, a woman has a vsgina. Whatever culture she is in, she is a woman. That is not a cultural thing, it's a biological thing.
if I look at someone who is clearly black it's not a social construct that he's black. He's black. And he would look the same whatever culture he was in. If he had a penis he'd be a black man, and if she had a vsgina she'd be a black woman.
It's more nuanced with race as a black man and white woman can have kids and they can be lighter skinned than their parents. So are they black? Is Obama the first black president? If race is a social construct then maybe Clinton was the first black president.


Peter said...

Sorrybut, there's still a huge difference between making a career in the racial grievance business as a fake black person and passing as black for social purposes (as when going to a nightclub).

Yet the hazard for academic race-class-gender warriors here is recognizing that just as black people choosing to pass as white implied the existence of white privilege so, too, Dolezal choosing to pass as black implies that, at least in some milieus, black privilege must also exist. For if it does not, then why would she have not only done it, but fabricated a skein of lies to support it?

Is our intrepid historian willing to go there?

damikesc said...

Why does the left have a need to turn everything into non things that only exist because they are social constructs. Even though we can clearly see they are things despite culture. For example, a woman has a vsgina. Whatever culture she is in, she is a woman. That is not a cultural thing, it's a biological thing.

The more baffling part is that the Left seems to TRULY believe that THEY are fact- or science-based when they, clearly, are anything but.

I don't think trying to turn obvious facts into questions is beneficial to much.

Peter said...

Another problem with this editorial is that medicine is increasingly taking race into account, not to deny patients access to medical treatments but to better serve them.

Which implies that race is not wholly a social construct.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_health

gerry said...

I do think it is horrible that journalists are now tearing apart her entire life. I see nothing in her story that justifies that.

Well, except that journalists tend to be liberals and support candidates that pander to racial racketeers and the government-racial grievance industrial complex. This story threatens that complex, since it reveals the hypocrisy and contradiction - and dishonesty - in much of it. Journalism must therefore destroy her.

Sammy Finkelman said...

damikesc said... 6/18/15, 9:08 AM

The more baffling part is that the Left seems to TRULY believe that THEY are fact- or science-based when they, clearly, are anything but.

Science is not the same thing as fact-based.

Science is organized groupthink, and "science" is whatever the scientists say it is, or can be gotten or intimidated into not disputing.

It is also a way of saying you, or what you are saying, is infallible. Karl Marx claimed his theories were "scientific socialism" He meant to say that means you anyone who disputes it is wrong.


Sammy Finkelman said...

So, if you understand what "science" is, they ARE science based, because they've got the scientific groups, or the scientific groups they like, on their side, or at least can claim that they are.

Sammy Finkelman said...

So, if you understand what "science" is, they ARE science based, because they've got the scientific groups, or the scientific groups they like, on their side, or at least can claim that they are.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Re Medicine: Race is a very crude way of classifying people or theiir genes. They do it because the statistics sometimes work in a more limited subgroup. Sometimes it might be genetic, because some mutations mostly exist in limited groups, and sometimes it might be cultural, and thus temporary. It can sometimes just be that a disease or syndrome is more likely to be one particular sub-disease in one population group than in another.

walter said...

"I do think it is horrible that journalists are now tearing apart her entire life. I see nothing in her story that justifies that."

Sure there is sensationalism here for the sake of it...but there's also a natural component of wondering "Why and how".
And her weird family background points to some interesting possibilities.

But has anyone asked her parents how she became "guardian" (her word) to her 16 yr old brother? As parents, they would seem to have some say over that unless the boy had somehow became an (pun alert) "emancipated minor".

This whole idea of race as free flowing construct is interesting though. In terms of American society's attempt to deal with the legacy of slavery, categorizing strictly by "race" seems incredibly ignorant of the huge diversity amongst those who fall under the blanket category of African American. I mean..if it's about trying to catch up from a slave history, shouldn't any preferences and such be according having that actual history? A recent immigrant from Africa could arguably be more appropriate to that label and yet have zero connection to slavery in the US. Talk about painting a "race" with a broad brush...

Rachel unwittingly points out some of the absurdity she claims to embrace.