I didn’t want to talk about Caitlyn Jenner. I really-really-really didn’t want to talk about Caitlyn Jenner. Even when for days it’s all I could see on my Facebook News Feed.
I lasted two whole weeks.
Don’t misunderstand me. I wasn’t chomping at the bit; not in the least. The only thing I was even remotely tempted to say on the matter was, “Uh, Edward Snowden is still a bigger story than this.”
Really, honestly, I don’t care. Bruce can do whatever he wants with his own body. So long as he isn’t trying to bust down the door to my house, we have no problem.1 If he believes it makes him happy, and he’s not hurting anyone else, who am I to insist otherwise? Live and let live, The Golden Rule, etc.2
No need for me to update my Facebook status, tweet, or write a blog about it. I was at peace.
Then, the Rachel Dolezal story came out and basically everyone that supported Caitlyn Jenner as “brave” and “courageous” turned on Rachel Dolezal. Below is an actual photograph of me when I heard the news.3
I want to know two things: (1) What wizard in an ivory tower decided that Jenner was a national hero, and Dolezal was the Devil? And (2) how do I become that wizard? Because I’d really like to get Kings back on TV!
The Magical Wizard has spoken. Charlie Brown is not allowed to kick the football.
“Sexual identification only. Trespassers will be shot.”
Be careful what you say
A Sturmabteilung’s approach to a “cultural curveball”5 is “We need to outlaw this!” A medic’s approach is, “We need to keep preaching the gospel.”
I’m a medic.
As a medic, I don’t claim to understand everything, I’m perfectly fine answering with “I don’t know” when I don’t know. I don’t equate my interpretation of the bible with the actual Word of God.
But I do know a contradiction when I see one.
Times of upheaval
100 years from now, historians will look back on the time we’re living in as probably the greatest cultural and technological shift in the history of mankind.
My wife was born in West Germany, before the fall of the Berlin wall. I was born under a military dictator in Nigeria. Now, here we are in post 9-11 America under the first black American President, with Edward Snowden in exile in Russia, and Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair.
For the record, while I do agree with Zack Locklear’s blog post, I completely understand why the “Storm Troopers” are circling their wagons. People seem to think that God’s judgement comes in the form of fire and brimstone. That’s way off point. God’s judgement comes when he lets you do whatever you want.
That realization moment came when Kim Kardashian’s ass was plastered all over my Facebook Feed a few months ago. It was on Facebook, Buzzfeed, and online mainstream news outlets completely uncensored. That’s when I was like, “Ok America, you’ve been given up.”
But to be clear, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Modern technology and medicine will open doors we all thought were closed, and doors we didn’t even know existed.
What happens in 15 years when Rachel Dolezal really can become a black woman on a genetic level and have dark skin and curly hair that doesn’t require a spray tan and a perm? This is not science fiction.
Is she black then?
Modern science and genetics has already proven that race doesn’t exist at the level of the gene.
“Individuals from different populations can be genetically more similar than individuals from the same population.” Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations, Dr. D. J. Witherspoon, S. Wooding, et al.
Yet, because of human nature, we’ve built entire institutions and systems of reward and discrimination based off a few sequences of genetic code, creating a brotherhood between anyone that shares that sequence of code or something similar.
So in an approaching future where you can change your DNA on the fly, what does race mean anymore? What does it mean to be a brother?
Is being a black just a few sequences of genetic code? So anyone who gets those sequences of skin color, big lips, and kinky hair, gets to be considered black, even if they weren’t born that way?
That the very people defending Caitlyn Jenner, are the exact same people attacking Rachel Dolezal, is what clues me into the idea that many modern day arguments aren’t based on logic or critical thinking, they’re based on blind loyalties.
In a world where people can’t disagree yet be civil, and every issue gets ratcheted up to World War 3 by the media, and we no longer raise adults, just permanent adolescents…well, what do you expect?
I can be really hard on the conservative fundamentalist right, but my goodness can liberal progressivism be just as bad! The former group is throwing snowballs in Congress, and the latter is crowning someone
king queen and crucifying another for the exact same thing.6
The very movement that acts as a shield and armor for Caitlyn Jenner, acts as a sword against Rachel Dolezal.
So, why did they turn on Dolezal?
I think it’s because the “people” that support Jenner don’t want to lose the popular support of the “people” against Rachel Dolezal. It’s a political move, plain and simple. A politically correct balancing act.
Caitlyn Jenner vs. Rachel Dolezal. Fight!
First, let’s run a quote through my Caitlyn Jenner translator.
“In order to pass as black, Dolezal took advantage of the black community’s long tradition of inclusion regardless of skin tone.” Adam Serwer, Buzzfeed
“In order to pass as
blackfemale, DolezalJenner took advantage of the blacklgbt community’s long tradition of inclusion regardless of skin tonegender labels.” – #TranslatedThatForYou
Let’s try that one more time.
When a reporter for a local television station, KXLY, asked her Thursday if her father was African-American, she said, “I don’t know what you’re implying.”
“Are you African-American?” the reporter asked.
“I don’t understand the question,” she replied. When the reporter then asked if her parents were white, she walked away. Bill Morlin, New York Times
When a reporter for a local television station, KXLY, asked her Thursday if
her father was African-Americanshe was born a woman, she said, “I don’t know what you’re implying.”
African-Americana woman?” the reporter asked.
“I don’t understand the question,” she replied. When the reporter then asked if
her parents were whiteshe had XY chromosomes, she walked away. #TranslatedThatForYou
Seriously, I could do this all day.
Rather than translation, let’s try comparison:
“I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and black curly hair.” Rachel Dolezal, interviewed on the Today Show
“I marked the closet so when I put it back I could put it all back, everything back in the exact same spot so I wouldn’t get caught…And, at the time, I didn’t know why I was doing it besides it just made me feel good.” Bruce Jenner, Interviewed by ABC’s Diane Sawyer
One of the things that perplexes me about how much hate Dolezal’s getting is, isn’t this what everyone wanted? For years, decades, centuries even, European beauty has been upheld as the standard of beauty worldwide. I mean, we had to make a movie called Good Hair for goodness sakes, to bring awareness to the self-hatred concept that only “straight hair” was pretty.
Half the female population of India and Nigeria – as we speak – are either using carcinogenic skin lightening creams to look as light-skinned as possible, or relaxing their hair with harsh chemicals to get it as straight as possible.
Finally, after 500 years of waiting, a white woman with straight blonde hair and blue eyes, decides of her own free will that she’d look more beautiful with a perm and dark skin. Not only that, but she
is was the President of her NAACP chapter, and an African American Studies instructor at Eastern Washington University.
She was a Civil Rights activist. I’m not even a Civil Rights activist.
“It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the presidency and pass the baton to my Vice President, Naima Quarles-Burnley” Rachel Dolezal
I’m not defending Dolezal, but at the same time, doesn’t all this strike you as odd?
Watch the interview
Listen to the reporter’s tone of voice, and ask yourself if he’d dare use that tone with Caitlyn Jenner.
Watch the interview on Today.com.
America, you have four options
A. Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal are free to identify as whatever they want to be identified as without being attacked.
B. Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal are not free to identify as whatever they want to be identified as without being attacked.
C. Either Caitlyn Jenner OR Rachel Dolezal are free to identify as whatever they want to be identified as, but NOT BOTH of them. Only one of them get’s this special privilege.
D. Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal are free to identify as whatever they want to be identified as, but neither they, nor anyone else, can force you to accept, understand, or celebrate their identity.7
I’ll go with option D.
A, B, and D are rational conclusions to come to, despite their supporters having very different ideologies.
But if you choose option C…
That’s fine, do whatever you want.
Just know that you’ve allowed this guy:
to be more logically sound than you are, and I don’t think that’s what you wanted.
Update 06/17/15: The Yin to my Yang
Before Dolezal had a chance to give her side of the story, an author had given his own take on things on SoLetsTalkAbout.com. Since it was cited to me on my Facebook page as a counter argument, I thought I’d copy my response on here.
If you do read his article and make it to the end, the top three comments on the page mirror my feelings on the matter, quite eloquently. I’ll screenshot them at the very bottom, in case they disappear.
Well I read the entire article, carefully, and it does make some good points to illuminate the plight of blacks historically. The problem is that’s all it does.
It doesn’t answer the question philosophically. If it did, it would have taken into account a point I brought up, that in the near future, you’ll literally be able to change your DNA. If gender and race are social constructs, then what change is good enough for a switch and what isn’t? How do you define what is good enough and what isn’t? Who gets to define it?
If I’m reading between the lines correctly, the article was written by a transgender black man (I’m wrong, he’s just a gay black man according to the FAQ). He elevates himself to the level of Pope, and then ends with an insult.
“Plus. Her perm is ugly and none of us want to be associated with that fried and crispy mess anyway.”
Ya, you’re doing a great job convincing us, with your maturity and impartiality there, buddy.
That’s not the only place he does it. The whole “white, whiter, whitest” thing among many other snide remarks adds to the case against his Holiness, “the Pope.”
The overall theme is in itself a form of bigotry and the author can’t see past his own blind loyalties to the LGBT movement and the Civil Rights movement.
When people gain any modicum of privilege or power, they don’t want to share it. And the LGBT movement does have some privilege and power in the media, because public opinion is swaying, so laws are changing. On one hand I empathize with both groups (LGBT and Civil Rights) not wanting to share this new found power with other minorities as they crop up, because it was so hard fought for, but they’re just making the same age old mistake that white men made 500 years ago; they’re just blind to it.
Part of the reason I’m for marriage equality in the political sphere, even though I disagree with it theologically and epistemologically, is because there’s a certain etiquette we should have with other human beings that gives them the benefit of the doubt, that they know their own minds and bodies. You might not agree, but at least you just let them be.
It’s like when gays said, “I was born this way. It’s not a choice,” and then conservatives spit rhetoric and vitriol in their direction. This article just picks up the conservative mantle, spray-paints it a different color, and continues the discrimination. It is no different.
Point by point
(1) “At some point in her life she decided to just BECOME Black.” #original
At some point in his life he decided to just BECOME a woman.” #translated
Same with Jenner. Jenner received full ride scholarships meant for men. He competed in the men’s olympic games. Experienced male privilege his whole life as part of a misogynist patriarchal male society.
(2) “Rachel didn’t want to be Black because she *felt* Black, because Black is not a feeling. Black is an existence that was created for us by racists as a tool to justify ill-treatment and codify oppression into law.” #original
Jenner didn’t want to be a woman because he *felt* like a woman, because womanhood is not a feeling. Womanhood is an existence that was created for us by misogynists as a tool to justify ill-treatment and codify oppression into law.” #translated
Actually, this article assumes too much. Funny thing is that I also wrote my article on June 12 (when this article was published), but I decided not to publish it, because I wanted to hear Dolezal’s side of the story first. Dolezal said in her interview with Today that she felt black since the age of 5.
Back on June 12th, I thought she might say that, in fact I was secretly hoping she would say that, but I was just waiting for her to actually say it.
(3) “The concept of race as we understand it today developed as an extension of colonialism in tandem with the scientific revolution, where science was used to definitively classify people, rank them along variables such as beauty and intelligence, and solidify whiteness as the ideal in each category.” #original
The concept of gender as we understand it today developed as an extension of religion in tandem with misogyny, where misogyny was used to definitively classify people, rank them along variables such as beauty and intelligence, and solidify maleness as the ideal in each category.” #translated
(4) “White people are white. Period. Any tainting of that whiteness means you are no longer white, and if the physical expression of that tainting is clearly evident, you are perceived as non-white by a societal structure created by white people to keep themselves at the top.”
This is not completely true. I took a course called Racism in America in college, and read the book White Privilege and whiteness is just as8 inclusive as blackness under the right circumstances.
The Irish came to America and weren’t considered white at first because they were Catholic, even though they were anglo-saxons. Now they’re considered white. The Italians came and it was the same with them. Now they’re considered white. The Jews came and it was the same with them. Now they’re considered white – except in the darkest swamps of the American south.
(5) “Rachel was able to fool people into thinking she was Black because she made enough cosmetic changes to make herself appear non-white.” #original
Jenner was able to fool people into thinking he was a woman because he made enough cosmetic changes to make himself appear non-male.” #translated #CoverOfVanityFair #LooksLikeJessicaLange
(6) “The difference between perception of race and perception of gender is, Random White Man can perform his gender as 25% female and still identify as male. He cannot be 25% Black and still identify as white.”
Actually this flies in the face of documented historical evidence, and is just plain untrue. Plenty of black families and people who could “pass” as white have chosen to “be white”. NPR did a huge segment a couple months ago highlighting this historical fact.
This could be much longer, but it was noteworthy enough for me to want to put on here (with some minor spelling and grammar corrections).
* * *
* Some images were modified for the sake of commentary
There are literally people who want the right to bust down the door to your house, throw flashbangs at your children, and walk away Scott free, all in the name of a “War on Drugs”. And you care about what color lipstick Bruce Jenner is wearing?↩
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” – 1 Corinthians 5:12↩
Actually, I’m the blurry one in the back wearing the sparkly sash.↩
Means “Storm Detachment” or “Assault Division” in German. If you’re American, it’s better known here as “Storm Troopers”↩
I’ve appropriated the phrase from Zack Locklear, and in this particular instance, I use it to mean “victimless vices”. Like alcohol (used to be illegal) and marijuana (illegal in most US states)↩
Maybe someone can answer me this question: Why does everyone love Jennifer Lawrence, and hate Kristen Stewart? “Oh my gosh she’s so quirky, I love her!” “Oh my gosh she’s so quirky, I hate her!” They’re basically the same person…↩
This is really a compromise between A and B. Let’s call it the “moderate” position.↩
Maybe I should have said “almost as”.↩