Just when you thought Rachel Dolezal’s 15-minute freak show was over, Shaun King, a prominent #BlackLiveMatter activist, has raised the specter of White people impersonating Black people at the highest levels of SWJ.
It’s easy to view the Dolezal and King stories as merely opportunities for Schadenfreude: the hypocrisy of the Left is laid bare—as well as the shameless mendacity and ruthlessness of some of its high priests and preistesses.
But something bigger is happening. The Dolezal phenomenon—transracialism—has entered into the public consciousness; it will echo throughout the progressive Left and unleash a paradox that will decimate identity politics.
There has always been a certain contradiction in the kind of identity politics favored by the Left. On one hand, it argues that society must not discriminate against the lifestyle choices made by “alternative” individuals. On the other, there are no choices. Homosexuality is biological, innate, and immutable. The same goes for transgenderism, wherein men who identify as transgender are said to have “female” brains, and vice versa for transgender women.
The struggle between these two competing views of the world is best illustrated by the Left’s infatuation with race. America is seen as a White supremacist country, wherein Whites exclusively benefit from a discriminatory system. Because of this, it is important for people of color to advocate ruthlessly for their own self advancement, so as to overcome the institutional handicap of their skin color. At the same time, race does not exist. It is entirely irrelevant, and while evolution contributed to the differing physical characteristics of the races, evolution has not in any way acted upon mental faculties. Africans, Europeans, Asians, and Jews are completely identical from an intellectual standpoint. Any distinction in crime rates, civilizational status, and IQ scores is due purely to historical factors. In other words, race does not matter in any meaningful sense, but race does matter in that people of color are continually faced with the prospect of overcoming their own historicity, yet seemingly incapable of doing so.
Progressives want nothing more than to reach the point where race is no more meaningful than boxers or briefs. Yet, for this to happen, transracialism must also be acceptable. Consider a theoretical progressive utopia in which race does not matter. In this reality, it would be acceptable to engage in transracialism. If blackface were seen as deeply insulting, then obviously race would continue to matter, and the utopia would be invalid. The entire goal of progressivism is the absolute fungibility of the individual, but this remains impossible given the progressive fixation on race and, to a lesser degree, sex.
This is why Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King are so problematic. Their existence reframes the concept of race from being an issue of identity to being one of choice. This contradiction has always existed, but the unmasking of Dolezal and King has forced a confrontation that could have remained buried.
Men can already choose to be women, as Caitlyn Jenner has so pointedly shown. But at this point, what validity do feminist critiques of society have? After all, cannot women choose to be men, and thus reap the rewards of a patriarchal system? A feminist may say that women should not have to become men in order to advance, but why not? They are both identical, or are they not?
If a feminist says anything other than, “Yes, men and women are identical. For a woman to become a man in order to exploit the remaining historicity of the system is perfectly acceptable,” then she is exposing herself to dire contradictions. For a feminist to answer in any other way is to argue for male and female characteristics that are both distinct and immutable. This is unacceptable, given the premise of equality.
This argument applies in exactly the same way to the racial question. Why can’t a Black man say that he is White? Race is a social construct, after all. If this sounds off, but the aforementioned transgender argument sounds correct, then think again. The only reason that they seem different is acclimation to transgendered claims. Both ideas are simply dishonest thought experiments that have managed to gain traction in the cultural landscape.
Already on college campuses, to ask a person’s sex is offensive. Currently, it is merely a microaggression. Soon, it will be a hate crime. A White man has attended Wellesley, an all-female college, while continuing to be referred to by his male name. His genitalia is intact, and he is essentially a transvestite. And yet, he was accepted into Wellesley despite his disingenuous claim of womanhood. When reality is subject to whimsy, there could be no other end. But what if he had claimed to be Black, as Rachel Dolezal had? Would anyone have said anything? Could political correctness allow for anything to be said? For now, yes, but as political correctness and Progressive ideology continues to distance itself from reality, the flight from truth occurs at a faster and faster rate.
That transracialism has entered into the discussion is evidence of its inevitability. The ramifications of this are the unmaking of identity politics, affirmative action,diversity, and even the concept of Progressivism itself. This is the trap that the Left has set for itself. Racial- and identity-based politics and radical egalitarianism do not mix; they are antithetical. This will be their undoing.
The consequences will best be seen in the tech industries, where the best and brightest (read: least diverse) gather. In this arena, it is survival of the most creative, the most ruthless. Once they realize that diversity quotas can be reached without the need to hire low-productivity token minorities, the floodgates will be unleashed. A software company could even specialize in hiring transracial Blacks (e.g. nerdy White guys). It is already a grave faux pas to ask a transgender if he is a woman where it counts. The same will happen for race. To ask a White man if he is really Black is to question the authenticity of his chosen identity, and more importantly, question whether identity is something that can actually be chosen in the first place.
The Progressive Left has no way out of this ideological Catch-22. To be Progressive is to promote the fluidity of identity, but to advocate for this is to create a world in which identity politics becomes impossible, and thereby the means by which Progressives accumulate power is eliminated. In other words, the fulfillment of the Progressive movement will bring about its own destruction . . . as well as set the stage for a new movement based on the reality of racial and sexual differences.