Anyone on the Left hoping that the Rachel Dolezal affair would simply fade into the background with the former NAACP chapter head being labeled a villain is going to be disappointed this morning. Rachel showed up on The Today Show with Matt Lauer and let it all hang out. Let’s start with the video and a few of the key quotes which I’ll transcribe below. Then we can finish with why she’s throwing a wrench into the national plans of progressives.
To Lauer’s credit, he hit her with the majority of the most difficult questions people were expecting. For her part, Rachel never blinked and simply stuck to her guns. Lauer asked her fairly early on if she thought she was ever going to be caught. She responded by saying that she though the timing was “completely unexpected” but she saw it coming. “I did feel at some point that I would need to address the complexity of my identity.”
Matt Lauer: Are you an African-American woman?
Rachel Dolezal: I identify as black.
[Lauer shows her a picture at 16 years old and asks if the girl in that picture is African-American.]
RD: In that picture, during that time, no…
RD: I don’t see why they’re in such a rush to whitewash some of the work that I’ve done and who I am and how I’ve identified…
RD: At five years old I was drawing self portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon and the dark, curly hair.
ML: When did you start deceiving people?
RD: I do take exception to that because it’s a lot more complex than answering a question of are you black or white. I was actually identified when I was first doing human rights work in Idaho as first transracial, and then when some of the opposition to the human rights work I was doing came forward and started. The next newspaper article identified me as being a biracial woman. The next article when there are actually burgaleries, nooses, etc. was, this is happening to a black woman. And I never corrected that…
ML: Well, why didn’t you correct it? You knew it wasn’t true.
RD: Well, because it’s more complex than being true or false in that particular instance.
Lauer asked her what she hoped would come from all of this and what people should learn from it.
What it means to be human. And I hope that it can drive at the core of definitions of race, ethnicity, culture, self-determination, personal agency and ultimately empowerment.
This presents yet another problem for those who continue to insist that there is no parallel between Dolezal and Bruce Jenner. This includes Washington Post editorial board member Jonathan Capehart, who Lauer actually quotes during the interview. Capehart has been writing about this story nearly non-stop since it began, and there are two lines of defense which he keeps going back to. Both are on display here:
“[Dolezal] didn’t say, ‘This is my style or the culture that I truly identify with,” Moodie-Mills said. “Instead, she exhibited the worst form of cultural appropriation by assuming all of the benefits of being black, i.e. chairing the [local] NAACP … — all while experiencing none of the oppression.” As for those who say that Dolezal is no better than Jenner, Moodie-Mills’ response was appropriately blunt.
“Transgender people seek to live in their truth and have that honored,” she said. “Dolezal is nothing but a cultural carpetbagger living a lie.”
This is the problem that the Social Justice crowd has run into from the beginning of this kerfuffle. Had Dolezal simply slunk off into obscurity it would have paved the way for critics to simply claim that she was a white person trying to gain an advantage from the system by intentionally lying about being black. That puts her in the blackface, Birth of a Nation category and allows her to be dismissed while hanging on to the claims about Jenner having always been a woman.
But Rachel clearly isn’t ready to play along with that game. She has now come forward and said the words that I was expecting from the beginning. I identify as black. And further more, she claims that she has done so since early childhood. She’s not pretending, according to her own statements. She was just born in the wrong skin. So how do you deny that while defending Jenner?
The second argument is even weaker. Supposedly Dolezal was “gaining the benefits” of being black while experiencing none of the oppression. So how is that different than Jenner? Assuming that women are oppressed in America, wasn’t Jenner enjoying all the benefits of being accepted as a male – and truthfully, just about the maximum achievable benefits as an Olympic athlete and superstar – while lying to everyone about his gender? And if so, why is “Caitlyn” being celebrated instead of reviled?
And yet I am told on a daily basis that Jenner is a woman and I should just get over it. No science offered to back it up in the face of objective reality… just flat dictates from the top of the politically correct mountain and that is the End of the Discussion, as the Left so often loves to practice things. Well, that’s your right to free speech, but we all enjoy that. I have a couple of dictates of my own for you. Bruce Jenner is a man and Rachel Dolezal is white. Get over yourselves.