A Transformative Discussion

Why can’t Rachel Dolezal be black?

Maybe someday that question will find itself listed in a history book on what changed racial consciousness. In several mainstream media outlets, an awkward and exciting conversation has been started on race. Dolezal was born and raised White. She later decided to become Black and assimilated into the Afro-American community. She’s identified as Black for ten years now and became head of her local NAACP.

So if race—like gender—is a social construct, how can Bruce Jenner be a woman and Dolezal not be Black? That’s because the Black community refuses to accept those who were not Black at birth. Many of the same scholars who have paraded the idea that race doesn’t exist for years have revealed themselves as biological determinists. Race is real and it is genetic.

And the conservative response demanding to know the difference with Jenner drove the direction into a subversive direction.

Right after we learn that biology doesn’t matter with, we learned that it does with Dolezal. Considering how the “race is a social construct” meme is more deeply entrenched into our society than “gender is a social construct,” the episode with the Washington NAACP leader is a welcome setback to this cause. It is also a huge setback to those who think we can pick and choose our identity, rather than we are born with our identity.

In many ways, it was just what we needed after we were told to call Bruce Caitlyn.