Coloring Outside The Lines

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.

rachel

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.


caitlyn-jenner-vanity-fairRachel 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.

2 Comments

  1. “Race is a choice”…With enough money, modern medicine, and imagination you can be who every you want to be. In reference to Rachel Dolezal, my question is why be deceptive? You can identify with the black experience and be an ally of movement without false claims. Denying your own personal heritage or lineage weakens your motives and efforts. Just be HONEST and say I’m “Transracial” or what ever term individuals use. You’re building upon an unstable foundation by not being honest with yourself or others. As this story unfolds, we clearly see how one lie snow balled effect into numerous. For me, if you start with TRUTH you end with TRUTH. Now the works she did do for the black community will forever be tarnished and discredited. This is a lesson for us ALL. Truth/Good Intentions + LIE = LIE

    • I think you have to ask yourself, what is black. If Rachel felt she was black and identified as black, how is she being deceptive? Who are we to tell her what she is and isn’t. As mentioned in my post, race is something experienced psychologically and emotionally. Who are we to tell Rachel who she is psychologically and emotionally. We don’t know that woman. We don’t know her life. I think we are too quick to judge people from our point of view and through our belief paradigms when everyone does not share that same way of thinking. However, looking at the situation from your point of view, I totally understand your frustration and opinion.

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