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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Identity politics, the notion that you can be who you want to be just by saying so, is a game any number can play. Indeed, a visitor from Mars (or maybe it was Pluto) who was dispatched to Earth to find out just what kind of nuts we are, is said to have written home that Earth may be the most curious planet in any galaxy.

“Everybody wants to be who and what he and she is not,” he wrote, “and changing sex — ‘gender’ they call it — is universally popular, and watching someone of another gender use the toilet appears to be the global sport.”


The greatest gift is to see ourselves as others see us, as the poet Bobby Burns told us, but some earthlings want others to see us as we are not, and they can pay a price when others don’t. Rachel Dolezal, a white lady, is one of the poster children for identity politics and she thought she had “passed” when she was elected president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington. She was then ousted when the black folks discovered that she was, in fact, white, and life has been downhill since.

Ms. Dolezal tells the London Guardian that she’s destitute and hasn’t been able to find a job since she lost her job teaching Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University. Poor but proud, she remains adamant that she’s an African American, and she changed her name legally to Nkechi Diallo.

Ms. Dolezal/Diallo is sad and angry that she was treated as a pariah by both blacks and whites when her parents outed her as white. She has written the inevitable book, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World,” which is out this month.

Even before her book is published, however, reviews of the author herself are in: “Why Rachel Dolezal can never be black” (NPR.com); “Rachel Dolezal: Can you be black without actually being biologically black?” (The Los Angeles Times), and “If Rachel Dolezal can be Nkechi Diallo, can I identify as a white girl called Elizabeth at airport security?” (the London Independent). Denene Miller of NPR.com writes that Ms. Dolezal is “still a white lady with fussy hair and a bad tan,” engaging in “the ultimate in white privilege,” trying “to claim what is not hers to claim.”

This is the kind of nonsense that inspired Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, to claim that she is a Native American, i.e., an American Indian, which she imagined a good career move. In her first race for the U.S. Senate she claimed she was 1/32nd Cherokee, though almost nobody in her native Oklahoma believed it. Donald Trump, of all people, did. He has respectfully called her “Pocahontas” ever since. Another Pocahontas believer says that if she “grew up thinking she is Native American by heritage, who are we to say she is not? And who are we to define her based on narrow constructs of race?”

That’s the loopy argument of the transgender lobby, that biological plumbing can be wished away. But it’s a tough sell. A judge can manipulate the law and abuse biological reality but he can’t deny it. “How is it fair,” asks one dissenter to the nonsense, “to advance the rights of one by violating the rights of a thousand?” Who cannot sympathize with our visitor from Mars? He’s expected to send a coherent memo back to headquarters, but how can he explain us? Nobody else can.


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