Friday morning I received a notification from my Twitter app, alerting me that several people I follow were tweeting about #RachelDolezal. Unfamiliar with the name and curious as to why it was trending, I opened the notification and unknowingly stumbled upon the topic for this blog post. Ready?
WARNING: UNPOPULAR OPINION, PROCEED WITH CAUTION
This week, the term “transracial” became a trending hashtag on Twitter thanks to Rachel Dolezal, head of Spokane NAACP, whose race came under question on Thursday. Dolezal identifies as an African-American woman but was born to two white parents. A confused public, is now questioning if someone can be born one race, and claim another? My argument is yes.
During my senior year, I took a semester-long course called Making and Manipulating Race in the United States. It was in this course that I was first introduced to the idea of “race” as a social construct, a human invention experienced psychologically and emotionally. Race is a construction that has been repeatedly mediated and ingrained in our human psyche; however, anything constructed can be deconstructed, reinvented, and that’s exactly what Dolezal has chosen to do with her racial identity. The fact that Dolezal was even able to pass for black undermines the validity of race as a static concept.
Race is a choice. We choose to accept the racial box society places us in. We choose to psychologically and emotionally validate our race by how we act, talk, behave and live. No, you can’t choose how other people identify you, but you can choose whether or not you accept the box people place you in. Rachel Dolezal chose not to.
Rachel Dolezal isn’t the only person transcending socially constructed categories. This month, Caitlyn Jenner completed her transformation from Bruce Jenner into this beautiful woman who will grace the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in July.
After hearing Caitlyn’s story, I am inspired by her courage to fully embrace who she is, flipping two middle fingers to the world, screaming
“SCREW YOUR SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS. I WILL CHOOSE WHO I WANT TO BE AND WHAT I WANT TO BE.”
So kudos to both Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner for mind-f*cking the world this month with their audacity to color outside the lines.