Monday

June 26th, 2017

Insight

Dolezal controversy puts libs in a difficult spot

John Kass

By John Kass

Published June 19, 2015

 Dolezal controversy puts libs in a difficult spot

Rachel Dolezal can be black if she wants to.

How dare you say otherwise?

She may be a blue-eyed white devil to you, or a deranged liar to her brother and parents, but to Dolezal, inside, behind the skin bronzer and Soft Sheen, to that deepest truth that speaks to her inner Rachel, she's not white.

No way. She's black.

She identifies as black. So she's black.

That's how identity politics works, as crafted by the political left years ago, pounding an idea into Americans for decade upon decade:

If you say that you are something, then you are that something. Period.

And those who don't like it shall be denounced as intolerant, as living on the wrong side of history, or subject to stringent attitude readjustment.

Rachel Dolezal wants to be black, then I suppose she is black.

Just as Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner wants to be a woman, identifies as a woman, and did so to great media and political applause, even though Jenner remains, physically at least, intact as male.

"I definitely am not white," Dolezal, who resigned as president of an NAACP chapter after a furor, told NBC. "Nothing about being white describes who I am. I'm more black than I am white. That's the accurate answer from my truth."

She's not the first white person who has identified as black. She's also not the first black person denounced as white.

Ethnic politics, a part of identity politics, is filled with vulgar examples of candidates marginalized and ridiculed for daring to think independently.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking example of such political racism happened to a fellow I knew years ago.

He was publicly belittled as not black enough by black South Side Democrats in Chicago.

The fellow was a "white man in blackface," state Sen. Donne Trotter was quoted as saying.

"He went to Harvard and became an educated fool," said U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush. "We're not impressed with these folks with these Eastern elite degrees."

Harvard? Eastern elite degrees?

Rush, the old Black Panther and Chicago alderman, knows that's code in the hood for "white guy."

The poor guy lost that election and, humiliated, was forced to reach out to the political bosses and influence peddlers to make a comeback.

So just who was the candidate belittled by identity politics?

Barack Obama.

Naturally, I'm enjoying the heck out of the Dolezal drama because it's driving liberals (meaning just about everybody in American newsrooms) absolutely crazy.

There's a tinge of absurd Kardashianity to all this. And I don't think this reality show ends well.

It's bizarre, like Donald Trump campaigning for president with that ridiculous dead cat glued to the top of his head.

That should end badly, too.

In the meantime, Dolezal compels us to confront identity politics, the use of race, gender and ethnicity to herd individuals into voting tribes.

They vote collectively and are fed collectively by government and anything that threatens this arrangement is considered dangerous to the political infrastructure.

So Dolezal, the white woman who identifies as black, has become, for this summer at least, the Frankenstein monster of the political left.

It created her and now she's out of control, terrifying the poor villagers who don't yet know whether to run for the hills, hide in the primeval forests or storm the castle with torches and pitchforks.

Predictably, some liberals are clenching their fists and blaming the usual suspects, like Fox News.

But the cable network of establishment GOP types who actually think Jeb can get elected -- and alpha females who display far too much thigh on camera -- isn't what complicates all this.

What complicates it is Dolezal's coming right after Caitlyn Jenner.

Former decathlete Bruce Jenner -- the Olympian once on the box of Wheaties who married into the Kardashian clan -- has identified as a woman.

Jenner's plumbing and chromosomes remain male, but Jenner is now Caitlyn Jenner.

For identifying as a woman even though remaining a male, Jenner was put on the cover of Vanity Fair and became a media darling.

Dolezal isn't treated with reverence, though she is arguably more black than Jenner is female.

Caitlyn Jenner was celebrated by the high priests of American culture; broadcast and print commentators and the president and political figures.

She was praised for the same thing for which Dolezal is being vilified.

She identified.

Me? I feel pity for Jenner. I lament her pain. Her sexuality is her own, and no one else's business, certainly not mine or yours.

If Jenner was tortured by the expectations and prejudice of others, all I can feel about it is a sadness.

And I couldn't help but feel that some of the applause for Jenner's identification was theatrical, overdone, if not desperate.

Most folks, I imagine were sincere, I'm sure, but the breathless eagerness of some suggested they were determined not to be burned for heresy at the stake of mandatory tolerance.

"I cried," Dolezal told NBC in comparing herself to Caitlyn. "Because I resonated with some of the themes of isolation, of being misunderstood -- to not know if you have a conversation with somebody, will that relationship then end because they have seen you as one way."

Dolezal might be a decent person, or manipulative and cunning; a troubled and scarred black woman, or a lying narcissistic blue-eyed white devil. Or all the above.

But there's one thing we can agree that she's become:

Instructive.

Comment by clicking here.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who also hosts a radio show on WLS-AM.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles