April 4, 2017

"Caitlyn Jenner’s story came out almost simultaneously with mine in 2015, so there was kind of this comparison."

“What’s not similar is the stigma right now. There was stigma in the past for sure, and that still perpetuates... but there’s more stigma for race fluidity than gender fluidity right now, and I don’t think anybody would deny that."

Said Rachel Dolezal, talking to Salon and promoting her new book "In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World."

I can't tell from the clip at Salon, but I think the interviewer asked her to make this comparison. It's certainly a comparison that I've seen all along. When I click on my Rachel Dolezal tag, I see the transgender analogy from the very beginning. I wrote:
I found that story via Instapundit, who is making jokes like: "She's trans-black, don't shame her" and "She’s obviously transitioning, and we should support her choice." I'm simply noting that opportunity for humorous insight, not signing onto it myself. I want my distance from transgender jokes. But the analogy is significant and worth thinking about seriously.

As for trans-racialism, I think, to some extent, people do choose which race to identify with. It is, to some extent, a matter of personal expression and the general social convention is to allow people to simply say what race they are and not to question it. At what point is it ethically wrong? Presumably, it has something to do with whether you've taken some benefit that was designated for others, especially if that's the only reason you've chosen this identification.


Scott M said...

At what point is it ethically wrong?

Probably right around the mile marker where public funds are awarded based on race.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

White boys playing rural and urban blues back in the sixties was definitely trans-black.

tcrosse said...

There was a fine old tradition of light skinned but technically black folks Passing for white. So turnabout is fair play.

Laslo Spatula said...

Being white but wearing dark make-up makes you Black.

Being a man but wearing female clothing makes you Woman.

Surgically joining three people together, mouth to anus, makes them a Centipede.

The commonality? A lot of Crap being pushed through the System.

I am Laslo.

Birkel said...

The "One Drop" Rule was evil when Louisiana used it as a means to repress Plessy.

The "No Drop" Rule is not the answer.

Sprezzatura said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, it's nice to remember when italics were still dominant, i.e. before ALL-CAPS-ALTHOUSE took over. Repeal and replace ACA.

Laslo Spatula said...

The people surgically joined mouth to anus probably did NOT want to Identify as a Centipede.

But they are more like a Centipede than the White Woman is a Black Woman, maybe.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

If you surgically join, mouth to anus, three transgender people what gender is the Centipede?

What if they are not surgically joined, but just choose to position themselves that way?

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

If you surgically join Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal, mouth to anus, who would the Third Person be to complete the Centipede?

I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

Gender dysphoria has turned into race dysphoria when we weren't looking.

These people need help they are not getting. We already have a generation that can't handle adulthood.

SGT Ted said...

"White boys playing rural.."

Are trans-hick, not trans-black.

Bob Ellison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Bear said...

I thought the Left hated cultural and racial appropriation. Transgenders are appropriating another sex that is not their own. Dolezal is CERTAINLY appropriating a race that is not hers.

Kate said...

A little science would be a nice addition to this conversation.

Jenner is not a woman. Dolezal is not Black.

You can have all the feelz that you want, and I'll sympathize with your story. Be your own unique and fabulous you. Create a new category.

You just don't get to "appropriate" mine.

Bob Ellison said...

Bix Beiderbecke was an early cultural appropriator. Leontyne Price is the worst one.

Rachel Dolezal is merely a grifter.

John henry said...

At least as far back as the late 80s, the legal definition of "Black" or now "African-American" under federal law was identifying as such. I used to teach this stuff in various HR type classes and corresponded with DOJ abut this. Used to have a very nice paper letter that said, essentially "If someone says they are black you have to accept them as black". Specifically in the workplace but everywhere else as well.

In the late 80's early 90s there was a case of some blond blue-eyed, obviously white parents getting their obviously white children into some special school in San Francisco by claiming black affirmative action.

Crazy? Sure. As crazy as the boy wrestling on a girl's wrestling team? Or Bruce (now styled Caitlyn) Jenner winning "Woman of the Year" from a soft porn mag?

Not that I can see. Supposedly we all come from Africa and there is no yes/no test to determine whether someone is black. Self-Identification is the legal test.

there is an easy test for Jenner. Was he born with a penis? Yes? He is a man.

Is Rachel Dolezal black. Who are we to say she is not?

The Dolezal black/trans-sexual comparison is not new, BTW. I remember reading a comparison a year or two back when she was first exposed as a cultural appropriater.

John Henry

Laslo Spatula said...

Body Horror.

From Wiki: "Body horror... is horror fiction in which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Such works may deal with decay, disease, parasitism, mutation, or mutilation...The term body horror was coined with the "Body Horror" theme issue of the University of Glasgow film journal Screen (vol. 27, no. 1, January–February 1986), containing several essays on the subject.

Wiki links to a Collins Dictionary page on the term with an interesting graphic showing tend usage. Big in 1865, falling off, then peaking strong in the last decade or so.

In this last decade the Transgender Movement has come to the forefront.

Fear of the Body and what changes may occur: greater or lesser than the Desire of those changes?

I am Laslo.

Hagar said...

In biographies of Thomas Jefferson it is sometimes noted that 3 of his 4 surviving children with Sally Hemings left Monticello and "passed for White."
In fact they did not. Virginia law at the time stated that people with 1/8 or less "foreign blood," or however they stated it, were "White," presumably unless they were still in bondage. So, when these 3 were freed at age 21, or when Jefferson died according to his last will and testament, they also magically became "White."

The idea of "one drop" came along later after attitudes had substantially hardened.

IOW, the definition of "race" depends on lawyers and politicians.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...
Repeal and replace ACA.

Shhh! Here at Althouse we are studiously ignoring the Freaks and Leaks show over at the White House.

chickelit said...

I understand that Harvard law once touted Elizabeth Warren as a "woman of color," on her say-so alone. Why did they stop?

This is not off-topic.

Fernandinande said...

"Make Big Money With Crazy Talk."

John henry said...

Speaking of "Trans" I always think of this from Neal Stepehnson's 1999 novel Cryptonomicon:

In the part of a federal equal-opportunity form where Randy would simply check a box labeled CAUCASIAN, Kia would have to attach multiple sheets on which her family tree would be ramified backwards through time ten or twelve generations until reaching ancestors who could actually be pegged to one specific ethnic group without glossing anything over, and those ethnic groups would be intimidatingly hip ones—not Swedes, let’s say, but Lapps, and not Chinese but Hakka, and not Spanish but Basque.

Instead of doing this, on her job app for Epiphyte she simply checked “other” and then wrote in TRANS-ETHNIC.

In fact, Kia is trans- just about every system of human categorization, and what she isn’t trans- she is post-.

Anyway, Kia does a great job

Bolding but not capitalization added.

John Henry

Laslo Spatula said...

Kate said...
"A little science would be a nice addition to this conversation."

Science? Did I not mention the people of the Human Centipede were SURGICALLY attached mouth to anus?

THAT's Science.

I am Laslo.

MacMacConnell said...

Rachel Dolezal and Bruce Jenner are both confused. In Jenner's case he's not a woman, but a man. In Dolezal's case she's not an oppressed black, but white trash.

MacMacConnell said...

"Did I not mention the people of the Human Centipede were SURGICALLY attached mouth to anus?"

Actually, the Human Centipede is attached with journalism degrees.

Meade said...

Chimera is myth. Genetic engineeringing is science.

Yancey Ward said...

Dolezal is just as black as Jenner is a woman. It has been hilarious watching the cognitive dissonance on the Left in regards to Ms. Dolezal- the Right may not win any awards for how they treat both people, but they are at least intellectually coherent and consistent.

John henry said...

Blogger Mac McConnell said...

white trash.

Careful, you are getting into Robert Byrd (D-KKK) territory there.

Calling someone white trash implies that they are a special case. That not all white people are trash but that all non-white people are trash.

John Henry

MacMacConnell said...

John Henry

Trash is like porn, you know it when you see it.

John henry said...

Hispanic is another slippery classification that drives me up a wall

Was Alberto Fujimori, former President of Peru "Hispanic"?

At one point having a Spanish surname was sufficient. So in the 80's, in Prince Georges County MD, a white, non-Hispanic man who was turned down for a fire dept position legally changed his name from John Smith to Jose Jimenez (or some such) and sued for affirmative action. He won on the basis that he had an Hispanic surname and that was all the law legally required.

My son is Juan t0mas Henry-Sanches on his birth certificate. Hispanic, right? He also goes by John Th0mas Henr. Is he still Hispanic?

Legally, though this may have changed, Brazilians and people from Spain are not Hispanic but Adolf Stroessner was.

And, Buyawa, as a Filipino are you Asian or Hispanic? (rhetorical question. Don't answer if I am being nosy) the Philipines were under Spanish rule longer than most of South America.

Go figure.

John Henry

John henry said...


My comment about your use of white trash was tongue in cheek. I hope you didn't take it as chastisement.

John Henry

Unknown said...

"At what point is it ethically wrong? Presumably, it has something to do with whether you've taken some benefit that was designated for others,"

Like when male athletes transgender into women and then beat the crap out of real women in their sports. Which keeps happening.

FullMoon said...
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William said...

My ancestry is German-Irish. My German ancestors were part Jewish, and my Irish ancestors were part Angel-Saxon. I have red hair, an Irish name, and went to Catholic schools. I always thought of myself as Irish, but it's a bit of an affectation. Mostly I'm an American. "There is nothing that is quite your own, but this is you."

eric said...

I am once again reminded of the movie, The Incredibles. Dash is driving in the car with his mother. She tells him, "Everyone is special." And he responds, "If everyone is special, then no one is special."

If everyone is a minority, then no one is a minority.

Which is better?

A society where we acknowledge minorities and give them special treatment based on some past grievance, or a society where everyone is treated equally and we have color blind laws?

William said...

It must be a blessing to go though life being innately and instinctively who you pretend to be. I've never met such a person, but their lives must be a extremely pleasant.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My ancestry is German-Irish. My German ancestors were part Jewish, and my Irish ancestors were part Angel-Saxon. I have red hair, an Irish name, and went to Catholic schools. I always thought of myself as Irish, but it's a bit of an affectation. Mostly I'm an American. "There is nothing that is quite your own, but this is you."

We have a lot of fun playing up the Irish stuff with my youngest child, whose surname is a classic Irish-American name. Her dad of course has the same name, and has that genial Irish-bartender look (pink cheeks, curly mop of hair, round face). The truth though is that her family on dad's side is mostly Anglo and it's just coincidence that the name she bears happens to be that of the one Irish ancestor. And my side is one quarter Portuguese, one quarter Anglo, and half completely unknown as I was fathered by an anonymous sperm donor.

Who the hell even knows or cares, right?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My son is adopted; his birth father is Pacific Islander and his birth mother is half native American and half white. He sure as shit counts as a minority and we could probably get some sweet sweet affirmative action based on that....but he was raised by a stable upper middle class white family.

So what to do?

Amadeus 48 said...

Hmmm...I never have cottoned to either the one-drop rule or the Nuremburg laws. I pretty quickly got over the whole question of whether or not Barack Obama was black or white (he was a guy who went to Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law and had pretty standard junior faculty lounge social democratic politics), and I think identity politics are largely counter-productive in terms of creating a just and peaceful society.

How someone sees themselves is a question much more interesting to them than to me. If Rachael Dolezal saw herself as black, what is that to me...unless and until she starts feeding at the trough of benefits intended to remediate past injustices to black Americans. Did she do that? I don't know. I don't really care about her in any meaningful sense. Do black Americans care if she got to the trough? They should. If she didn't usurp any of those spaces marked "reserved for African-Americans", who cares about her at all except for someone interested in strange mental conditions? Rachael has no black ancestors; she has black feelings. The whole issue of those "reserved" spaces is another question.

Caitlin Jenner is a mature adult who suffers from gender dysphoria. It is a mental condition. Caitlin still has XY chromosomes. Same rules apply. I am not really interested in him/her. If he/she had competed at the Olympics in the women's events, that would have been unfair. He/she didn't.


walter said...

New book! should have borrowed "Orange is the new black"

J. Farmer said...

Rachel Dolezal is a fraud, pure and simple. She made serial accusations of hoax hate crimes being committed against her, for which police were unable to uncover as scintilla of evidence. It was her incessant complaints to the Spokane police department over allegedly racist hate crimes against her that finally led the police to look deeper into her background and discover the truth about her actual ethnic heritage. The "born white but identity as black" schtick only came about after Dolezal's lies were unmasked. Everywhere she has worked she has left behind a litany of lies, falsehoods, and fabrications about her biography. I think Dolezal is an emotionally disturbed woman and borderline delusional. It is no wonder she found a natural home in the wacky world of "intersectionality."

Clyde said...

There's no such thing as "racial fluidity." Rachel Dolezal is guilty of MSU: Making Shit Up.

ChrisPer said...

This choice resulted in hard times for rightish commentator Andrew Bolt in Australia.

Australian aborigines are fairly closely intermarried at various levels with white partners. Roughly 60% of those in marriages are with non-aboriginal partners. In the cities and the southern areas that were most intensely settled and farmed, aboriginal people often have more european ancestors than aboriginal ones.
The changes in attitudes over the last 30 years has resulted in many/most 'passas' (aboriginal slang for 'could pass as white' choosing to identify as aboriginal. Many of these are middle-class in education perhaps with two hard-working educated parents and an aboriginal grandparent and have had fast opportunities in the public sector, education sector and health sector for aboriginal-facing positions with guaranteed government funding and sweet public-sector salaries. Also eligible for a lot of help into higher education.

The columnist Bolt started publishing the website photos and job titles of aboriginal people in these government jobs, as many of them clearly can suffer no discrimination on grounds of racial appearance. IMO he conflated a couple of unspoken ideas- one being that the positions were reserved for racial difference; and another that experience of racial discrimination for looking aboriginal was implied as necessary to be entitled to such a job. In Australia there is no % blood test or anything but you have to be acknowledged by aboriginal people as one of their community. Bolt got hammered in the courts under our draconian Section 18C racial discrimination laws (test is 'likely to insult or offend), partly on the grounds that he called someone a child of a German immigrant when they were actually the grandchild of that person.

JAORE said...

Many archeologists still believe our "human ancestors" came from Africa. Therefore it is true those of us in the USA are, in some fashion, African American.*

How much would the world change, or the right minds explode if in the next census we found that (say) 78 percent of the population declared themselves African American?

* Because SCIENCE!

(And, yes, I know there are alternate theories.)