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Rachael Dolezal is a woman who was accused of pretending to be Black living as a light skin Black woman. Her story came to the media forefront back in 2015 after her white parents came out and said that Rachel was born white and therefore not black. Shortly after her white parents revealed that she was their biological child and was white, and not the Black woman she had lived her life as, Rachel was attacked from all sides of the racial spectrum and her life began to unravel. The story fueled a national debate in the United States about racial identity.
Dolezal’s critics stated that she was guilty of cultural appropriation. Dolezal and those who defended her asserted that her self-identification is genuine and that she should be accepted as a Black woman despite her physical characteristics or the body she was born in. I found the case to be very fascinating, to say the least, and I actually felt some sympathy for Rachel because I thought she must be sincere about her racial identity because who in their right mind would choose to be Black in a racist society full of anti-blackness.
I also felt that however sincere Rachel was about her racial identity, that she was deeply delusional, caught up in a delusion that started when she was just a young teenage girl.
To be clear, I subscribe to the definition of delusion, which is: “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.”
Rachel is back in the news and according to published accounts, will be featured alongside of Black women in a documentary about the adaptation of black beauty standards and her critics are raising the alarm over her inclusion in “Subjects of Desire”.
To be honest, the subject matter of the documentary is not one that appeals to me so I will not watch it but I am still fascinated with Rachel’s story about being transracial.
In the past couple of months, I was pulled into the current national debate about whether or not trans women should be allowed to compete against xx chromosome women and girls in sports when my eldest daughter, a former record-holding track athlete, raised a concern about the fairness of competition and was attacked and called all sorts of names for expressing her concerns. When Rachel was brought into the spotlight again through this film, I could not help but make the connection to the arguments made to me on behalf of the trans rights movement. To be clear, I personally believe that as humans, trans-identifying people have human rights, but I do not believe they should be afforded special rights above other humans.
One person said to me in defense of a transsexual identity and biological xy chromosome males being allowed to compete with biological females simply because they “identify” as female, that gender was a social construct. Gender, which also refers to sex in its definition, isn’t a social construct but one based on the science of biology and the sex chromosomes that determine whether one is male or female. XX chromosomes result in biological females. XY chromosomes result in a biological male. To claim otherwise is well, delusional. You can change your hair, you can change your clothes, you can change the appearance of your body but they have yet to come up with a way to change your sex chromosomes from XX to XY or vice versa. This is a scientific fact free of social biases.
However, race is a different matter altogether. Race is in fact a social construct put in place politically by wealthy European men in the 1600s to support the enslavement and mistreatment of the newly created Black person and to create a social hierarchy referred to as white supremacy. Rachel’s case which is about not conforming to social constructs about race is a more credible argument than those claiming sex, male and female classification, is a social construct.
Surely people who identify as opposite of their sex chromosomes would be at the forefront of support of Rachel’s transracial identity because the arguments for recognition of people with a trans identity but with male chromosomes are exactly the same.
People who raised concerns about biological males identifying as females being allowed in the same spaces of xx chromosome women were shouted at and called hateful and transphobic. So does that make those who raise concerns about a white woman identifying as a black woman transphobic as well? Are those who express concerns about Rachel’s racial identity rooted in hate?
If I had an opportunity to ask Rachel Dolezal one question, it would be, how much support have you received from the trans community?
That’s all for now! Feel free to provide me with feedback.
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