Saturday, November 5, 2016

Rachel Dolezal celebrates her role in the infantilization of our society

You will recall her as the head of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP who turned out to be white.

Now she is set to release a memoir in which she makes an assertion parallel to that of the gender-fluidity crowd: that race is an abstract construct, and therefore relative, and therefore a matter of individual declaration rather than DNA:

Dolezal claims that her preference for black culture and history makes her “transracial.” Unlike the transgender movement, however, Dolezal’s views regarding biology and race have been denied legitimacy by liberal media outlets like even Slate and Huffington Post. I suspect the reason for this double-standard is that the concept of race is considerably less complex than that of sex or gender. Nonetheless, those who defend “transgenderism,” “transracialism,” or any other variation of self-identification commit the same fallacy.
Race, like gender, is a matter of biology. What distinguishes race and gender from other forms of classification, such as socioeconomic status or taste in music, is that they are, by definition, essential and permanent traits. They don’t change according to circumstance or personal preference. And while one can debate the practicality of classifying humans in terms of race, Dolezal’s decision to “self-identify” contradicts the entire concept of race as something permanent that applies to a select group of people. 
In his work, “Visions of Order,” the late political philosopher and intellectual historian Richard Weaver notes that “it is the very nature of culture to be exclusive.” Culture — the consensus formed in community — helps humans make sense of the world and establish norms. It allows us to discern what is good and bad, beautiful or base, true or false. 
As humans, we don’t get to completely define ourselves. We are partially, yet essentially, defined by others.
For crying out loud.

I am a musician and a music historian. I count Will Marion Cook, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery and Oscar Peterson among  my heroes. I have taught university courses in African-American music. I have written a novel that celebrates the vibrancy of late-1940s America and black cultural contribution as the reason for that vibrancy.

But not for a minute do I assume that merely pretending my pigmentation is other than it is to be some kind of right.

There is a natural architecture to the created universe. We are to fit into that architecture by engaging it with awe and reverence.

Denial of it is madness.

It will be interesting to see what kind of critical reception Dolezal's tome gets. Whether venues that have some kind of track record of being sympatico to whatever degree with this we-get-to-define-ourselves nonsense demonstrate at least a modicum of sanity and call her out for her hallucinatory stance will tell us much about whether there is any hope left for the spiritual state of this nation.

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