Rachel Dolezal identifies as black; is that a lie, self-delusion, or is race simply what we think it is?
WASHINGTON, June 16, 2015 — The Rachel Dolezal saga just got a little stranger. Dolezal, who resigned as president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., is a white woman who for years masqueraded as an African-American.
On NBC’s “Today,” interviewer Matt Lauer attempted to put a positive spin on Dolezal’s racial hoax. “You started a discussion on race and what it means in this country,” he said.
Actually, Dolezal started a discussion on what it means to define your own reality with the expectation that others should accept its “complexity.” If anything, she began a national discussion on the legitimacy of mass insanity.
Showing Dolezal her photo at age 16, clearly white, he asked, “Is she a Caucasian woman or an African-American woman?”
It was clear the photo forced Dolezal to confront undeniable reality, at least for a brief moment. “I would say that visibly she’d be identified as white.” Slipping back into her delusional state, she added, “by people who see her.”
It was clear from her answer that she was not one of those people.
Lauer tried a different approach, reminding Dolezal that her father was on record saying she was “clearly our birth daughter and we’re clearly Caucasian. That’s just a fact. She’s a very talented woman doing work she believes in. Why can’t she do that as a Caucasian woman, which is what she is?”
“Well, first of all,” said Dolezal, “I really don’t see why they’re in such a rush to whitewash … who I am and how I have identified. And this goes back to a very early age with my self-identification with the black experience as a very young child.”
Apparently, Dolezal has been suffering from her delusion since early childhood and resents her parents’ attempt to “whitewash” her racial fantasy.
“I identify as black,” Dolezal insisted triumphantly.
There are certainly many Americans who believe Dolezal is right, and that truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It does not matter what cold, clinical science has to say if it offends the complexity of Dolezal’s feelings of “identity.”
Race and personal feelings played a big role in the 19th-century debate on slavery. It was during the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 that Judge Stephen A. Douglas argued that if he could take his horse and hog from a slave state into a neighboring territory, with the laws equally protecting his property of horse and hog, why should this not apply to his property in slaves?
Lincoln responded using Greek philosopher Aristotle’s Law of Identity. He admitted that Douglas’ argument was “perfectly logical” if there was no difference between horses, hogs and human beings.
“The great majority, South as well as North, have human sympathies,” said Lincoln, “of which they can no more divest themselves than they can of the sensibility to physical pain.”
In other words, all the elements that make up reality have their distinct natures that are unique and separate.
If the South believed blacks to be no better than hogs, why, Lincoln asked, did Southern representatives join with their Northern congressional colleagues “in declaring the African slave trade piracy [in 1820] … annexing to it the punishment of death? … But you never thought of hanging men for catching and selling wild horses, wild buffaloes or wild bears.”
“If you did not feel that it [slavery] was wrong, why did you join in providing that men should be hung for it?” asked Lincoln.
The obvious answer is that even the dark-hearted Southern slave-owner recognized the humanity of his oppressed slaves. But to steal their labor, the slave-owner had to reduce the “complexity” of the slave’s humanity to that of the lowly hog, if only in his twisted imagination.
“Whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle,” said Lincoln.
Aristotle said that by masking reality with dishonest words, “reasoning would be impossible; for not to have one meaning is to have no meaning, and if words have no meaning our reasoning with one another, and indeed with ourselves, has been annihilated.”
Rachel Dolezal is African-American in the same sense that Adolf Hitler was an “Arian” superman.
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