Saturday, September 5, 2020

What the Ever-Loving F? (Identity-Theft Politics Revisted)

Turns out, Rachel Doezel wasn't an anomaly.
Funny how Ms. Krug and Ms. Doezel look alike.
Brunettes with long hair are all a little crazy.

I wrote before about Identity-Theft politics - the absurd result of Identity Politics - where people will assume the identity of a minority group, in order to achieve some sort of advantage.  At first, it sounds absurd - acting black or Hispanic, when you are white. Turns out, though, to be more common than we thought.

The sad case of Rachel Doezel was a starting point.  Born whiter-than-white in Minnesota, she decided she "felt black" and teased her hair and dyed her skin to pass as black.  Not a big deal, until she ran for and won, the Presidency of the local chapter of the NAACP in Washington State.  Then it all came unraveled as her parents "outed" her as a white person.

OK, so maybe she had some issues to deal with, and pretending to be black made her feel better.  Surely this is an outlier - no one else is doing this, right?  Or if they are, not so brazenly as to lead the NAACP?  Well, I guess if you want to get technical, white is a color, so she was a "person of color" in some sense.

But it gets worse.  Today, a professor at my alma mater (or one of them, anyway) was asked to stop teaching African-American History, as it turns out she has been passing - for years - as a Hispanic/African American, when in fact she is 100% whitey.

Worse yet, she posted several items on Twitter or wherever, saying she was "from the 'hood" and whatnot, which was true, if your "hood" was the all-white suburbs of Kansas City.

What the ever-loving fuck is going on here?  I mean, I can forgive Rachael Doezal as some sort of confused young person who had some wacky ideas and really did no one any harm.   But a college professor?

Oh, wait. These are the same people who are poisoning the minds of entire generations with a lot of this touchy-feely victimhood nonsense that passes as a college education these days.

In a way, it was inevitable this would happen.  In an environment where white people are devalued as being irrelevant, or worse yet, evil, it only makes sense that people would seize upon some racial minority identity, much as Elizabeth Warren claiming to be American Indian (several times, and yes, she was head-counted by Harvard to fulfill their quota affirmative action criteria).  After all, being white is bad, and being a male, heterosexual white man is the worst of all!  So if you can seize upon some sort of "identity" it can help your career, if not just your social life.

Sadly, this sort of thing has been a long time coming.  When I was in college 40 years ago, they were already talking about the irrelevance of "dead white male authors".  Why should we be reading Hemingway, when there is Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, or Toni Morrison?  And to some extent, they have - or had - a point.  Academia was dominated by white men, who read the works of.... white men, and put these same works in the curriculum.   This overlooked a lot of the works of women and "people of color" and other voices that never got published, or if they did, were overlooked based on race or gender.   This is not to say that all people of color or all women were overlooked, however.  There are celebrated instances, of course, of women who published under men's names, just to get published, particularly before the turn of the last century.  It was a pretty raw deal.

But this does not mean that the writings of white, male authors were over-hyped or meritless (well, maybe F. Scott Fitzgerald).   The point is, decades ago, this conversation started, and where we are today is a result of that.   The upside is that we are cherishing and exploring the works of authors who were unjustly overlooked.  The downside is, we seem to be too willing to put the old standards in the trash too quickly.  And today, the contributions of a white, heterosexual, male author are likely to be denigrated (is that a racist word?  I don't know anymore!) before they are even published, due to the identity of the author, and not the content of their works.

So, you can see why it would pay to be a minority these days - Academia will seek you out, as there is a dearth of real people of color or whatever, to fill these slots in Universities and Colleges.   If you are from a middle-class, suburban background (like about 70% of the country) you are automatically at a disadvantage.  But, if you can "pass" as a minority, you might have a shot at it.

And here is where it gets ugly - real ugly.  In the bad, old days, we used to have terms, like "Octaroon" to describe someone who was 1/8th black or "Mulatto" to describe someone of mixed race.  They were still considered black, and in some parts of the country (the Old South) even "one drop of black blood" was enough to qualify you as black.  

Funny how that works only in one direction.  One drop of white blood doesn't make you white.  Or in the case of President Obama, who was born in Hawaii and raised in Kansas (how white can you get?) and had one black (African) parent and one white parent, was deemed to be "black" when in fact, you could flip a coin and call his racial identity either way.  It wasn't like he was raised in the 'hood or anything.  I mean - Hawaii?  He probably knows how to surf.   Not that black folks can't and don't surf, only that the stereotype of the "beach blondie" on his surfboard isn't very African-American.

Maybe Jessica Krug and Rachael Doezel are outliers - or two points on a graph that form a line.  Perhaps in the coming months, more and more people will be "outed" as whites passing for black.  Perhaps.  What is alarming to me is that these faux African-Americans were not content to live quiet lives, but were quite militant about their adopted race.   Perhaps a bit of over-compensation?

I don't know what to think anymore, other than getting old doesn't seem like such a bad deal.   Pretty soon - in a decade or two - I will shuffle off this mortal coil, and with my last dying breath, I will say, "enough of that shit!" because the world is turning into a pretty crazy place, if you ask me.

UPDATE:  A reader reminds me of the strange case of Ward Churchill.  If that name sounds familiar, he was the Colorado professor who said we deserved 9/11 and the victims of that event were all "Little Eichmans" who deserved to die.  He was booted from his position as college professor, and it was later discovered that his claim of 1/16th Indian ancestry (as well as membership in an Indian tribe) were bogus.  Another crazy college professor, pretending to be a minority and poisoning the minds of young people.   Do these people have a problem with self-loathing?  Is that why they assume the identity of another race?  Interesting question!