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Author Topic: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy  (Read 8623 times)

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Offline Sho

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #100 on: June 19, 2015, 12:27:48 AM »
Alrighty. I’m going to do my best here to explain why this is an issue and address your questions/statements, IntensePlayer. I’m assuming that you genuinely just don’t understand what I’m trying to point out rather than assuming that you are willfully refusing to see that there is an issue.

Before I get into this, I’d love to point out that if a massive portion of a population is saying there is a problem (i.e. the black community saying that this is wrong), then sometimes we just need to suspend our personal disbelief and simply accept that. If ten women say that a particular action by a man bothers them, sometimes they don’t need to justify it, the behavior simply needs to stop.

Anyways.

Moving on to your various issues (and I’m gonna go ahead and apologize to everyone because this will likely get long. I’m going to start off by saying that it’s impossible for a black person to be racist against a white person (bear with me here). It is possible for a black person to be prejudiced to a white person (and that can certainly appear in the form of discrimination or violence), but racism implies that the person wielding that racism has a societal advantage. In short, white people can be racist (in America). Other races are prejudiced. This is the generally accepted definition in today’s current racial studies, particularly in America (and keep in mind, we’re discussing an American issue here).

I’ll touch on the hair. The thing is, Dolesal does have an influence on how people see her hair. Do you honestly believe that she chose knots and dreads simply because she liked the style and thought it was pretty? She didn’t. She chose the style precisely because it is associated with the black community. This isn’t the case of a white girl choosing a style that she likes and copying it because she’s genuinely a fan…this is the case of a white woman taking a traditionally black hairstyle and wearing it in order to make herself appear black precisely because she knows that hairstyle is associated with the black community.

As far as the n-word…I’m…I’m really not sure how to answer this. I’m assuming you’re not American? If you are, you would understand how charged this word is. To a certain extent, the black community has reclaimed the n-word in the same way that the gay community has reclaimed the word ‘fag’ (over-simplification, but I’m using it for an example). White people cannot use that word because of the history. It was a word used exclusively by white people with the intention of being hateful and exclusionary and, oftentimes, violent.

What you’re arguing with the hair and the word is that, effectively, history is irrelevant. By that logic it would be perfectly acceptable for me to use a blessed cross as a doorstopper or a Nazi armband as a decoration on a jacket simply because I liked the pattern. It would imply, in the best case scenario, a gross ignorance of the significance of those items and what they mean to people, and by appropriating them for my own personal convenience I would be disrespecting others. If I wore a Nazi armband as a decoration because I like the symbol, would it be wrong for a Jew to be insulted? That’s effectively the same argument as saying that a white woman wearing a black hairstyle (again, with the intention of pretending she’s black, not out of ignorance) should be able to do so without black people being insulted by it or commenting on it. I hope that clarifies things a bit?

Alrighty! Moving on to the idea of why things have to remain exclusive to black culture…well, they don’t. The key issue is the difference between appropriation and appreciation. Check out this article…it should help explain things a little bit. To break things down a little bit, no one is saying that black people can’t compose country music. No one is saying that white people can’t rap. What people are saying is that because these art forms are tied to tradition, that tradition must be respected and handled delicately. For instance, a black person who came from Africa and began singing about prejudiced, red-neck stereotypes would not be appreciated, just as white rappers from high-income suburban neighborhoods aren’t respected when they rap about being from the ‘ghetto’. Taking an art form and making it your own is fine, providing you use your power and platform to help raise those around you.

The primary issue with appropriation is that white people take something valued by ethnic minorities (take the bindi, for example), and they strip it entirely of it’s meaning. They use these things because they think it’s ‘cool’ or ‘pretty’. In Dolezal’s case, she used it because for some reason she wanted to align herself with a traditionally ill-treated group.

To address your point that black people should be able to express themselves however they want…well, again, ideal world. That would be great. The issue is, they can’t. They can’t, because those cultural differences are often seen as threatening by white people, so oftentimes when someone black is acting ‘white’, it’s because they have been pressured into doing so in order to fit in. The issue with white people doing that is that, again, you’re assuming both races are on a level playing field. I think it’s quite telling that society as a whole finds things edgy when white people do it but ‘gross’ or ‘thuggish’ when a black person does it. Again, even playing field, this would be all fine and dandy, but since racially we aren’t all even in America and don’t all have the same opportunities, not everyone gets to take culturally significant things from other people.


Alrighty moving onto the whole problematic Caitlyn Jenner/Dolezal comparison. Read this article please. It breaks down, a little bit, the fact that the differences in the brain chemistry of people who are transgendered is actually observable. It is absolutely not true that difference in brains between black and white have been observed. Until you can provide legitimate science to prove that black and white brains are notably different in the same way that male and female brains are different, and also prove that white people are born with ‘black’ brains, please leave this particular point alone.

Here’s the thing. I don’t need objective proof to say that Dolezal is wrong or lying. The person making the claim is the one who has to provide proof (and that’s how our legal system works, and it’s how science works).

Aaaaand moving on again. You seem to understand the cousin comparison, so I’ll stick with that. Perhaps you wouldn’t lash out at that person who lied to you…but then again, would you really sit there and say that no one had the right to be mad? That your fake cousin, in lying to you, hadn’t harmed you? That a lie that big hadn’t left a psychological scar on you? You’re saying that you wouldn’t judge that fake cousin but you would be angry and you would assume they were mentally ill. Interestingly, you don’t seem to be assuming that about Dolezal…you seem to be arguing that she has every right to do what she’s doing and that no one can prove that she doesn’t actually feel like she’s black inside, so she deserves to present herself that way. How is that different from your fake cousin scenario? Why are you able to defend one, but not the other?

And onto the final point! (I know this is getting long). You asked how Dolezal is hurting the black community? Here are a couple of ways. One: she is taking black identity in America and boiling it down to what she, a white woman, has stereotyped black people to be. This includes styling her hair in a specific way and attending an HBCU. Effectively, she’s reducing their heritage to a mere presentation. Two, she took a spot from a woman of color in an HBCU (in a community where educational access is often limited because of systemic racism, this isn’t just her hurting one person, it’s her damaging a part of the community). She may well have taken a spot from someone who had to overcome childhood hardships that she never had to face). Three, at the NAACP she used her experiences as “a black woman” to lend credibility to her anti-racism messages. All of those messages are now called into question as to their legitimacy because she lied about the major premise upon which she was presenting them, i.e. that she had experienced that racism herself rather than simply observing it. Fourthly, and arguably most importantly, as proved by your own point…she has, in her lies, caused a conversation that is now causing many white people to question what it is to be black. That’s frankly not our place. People who have never been black are now invalidating the black experience in America by saying, “Well, huh, why shouldn’t she be able to do it? Race is just a construct, so why can’t anyone jump in?”. Finally, by doing this, it proves that white people still can and still do take other identities and make them their own for selfish reasons. She wanted to feel black, I hypothesize, because she wanted to be a part of the ‘other’, of the minority. It’s not unlike kids joining the goths at school rather than the cheerleaders, except for, oh, you know, the damage it inflicts on the community. She wanted to be a victim. She wanted the attention that comes with being a victim, so she chose to lie about being a part of a group that is victimized regularly. Just like when women falsely claim rape and then undermine legitimate rape cases, Dolezal undermined the struggle of black men and women in America.

Whewwwwwww. Long post, and I hope I explained things a bit; I hope I explained them calmly. This is an emotional topic, IntensePlayer, but I think that you may want to keep in mind that minorities don’t owe you an explanation for their feelings. This is one of those situations where it may well be better to simply say “I don’t understand it fully, but if the vast majority of this population is angry and hurt by this, there must be a visceral reaction to this situation because of damage I can’t understand”. That would be my suggestion.

Offline Sho

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #101 on: June 19, 2015, 12:29:40 AM »
@IntensePlayer

Also, I'm going to agree with Ephiral. If you're going to claim solidarity with the LGBT (the 'T' in there is important!) community, please respect Caitlyn Jenner's wishes and refer to her as Caitlyn as opposed to Bruce.

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #102 on: June 19, 2015, 12:48:34 AM »
This is how it seems to go with issues dealing with race...especially when its about black people. Whenever someone black answers, gives opinions, or facts...we are automatically called angry, immature, and illogical. But when someone who isn't black, gives the exact same points are considered logical and people can "see where they're coming from." This is why a lot of people are irritated with "why can't white people speak for black people" because we have our own voice. We aren't children, we know the issues better than anyone and its offensive when people ignore the fact that I'm an person with feelings and opinions and they should be heard.

I shouldn't need to call one my white friends to help me...I shouldn't have to do that.

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #103 on: June 19, 2015, 12:53:30 AM »
Ephiral, let me try to respond to all of your points.

Everything you mentioned about Dolezal I have acknowledged in my past posts.  I have read her claim about identifying as black from the age of 5.  My interpretation of this is that it was the point where she started to realize that there is something different about her.  However just because a person comes to a realization about themselves, doesn't mean they'd feel comfortable enough admitting it to family or friends.  Also just because she felt she in part identified as black, also doesn't mean that in part she didn't identify as white.  After all the girl had white parents yet adopted black siblings.  I can see a person like that being confused for a while before they figured out how they truly feel.

As for her suing the Howard University I have read about that, though I don't know about the specifics.  I can't speak for her frame of mind as I do not know the person.  Perhaps at that point in her life she identified as white?  I don't think there is any rule that says you need to follow one particular narrative/belief your entire life?

I also read about her claiming some black man was her father.  I've already said in my earlier posts that I thought that was pretty messed up, so by no means am I choosing to 'ignore' the point.  It means she lied, as a result I still don't see how that means she doesn't have the right to express herself the way she sees fit?

I'd also like to clarify that I have not said anything negative about trans people.  I have provided links that have bigoted views against trans people only to illustrate that such views exist, and not that they are my line of thinking.  I have also never said or implied that trans people are lying.  What I did is quote the article that read "In attempting to pass as black, Dolezal falsely represented her identity. Trans people don't lie about their gender identities — they express their gender according to categories that reflect who they are."  My point was that the author of the article was that they believe Dolezal is falsely representing herself by claiming she is black.  When in reality there is no way to know how Dolezal sees herself.  The point I was trying to illustrate was that the author of the article chooses to believe trans people when they talk about their sexual identity, and simply chooses to believe Dolezal is lying even though it is impossible to objectively Dolezal believes.

Black people, or 'People of Color' are free to express themselves, I never said they couldn't.  All I'm saying is that other people who aren't white can also speak about race and racism.  That you don't need to BE black to understand racism, that you don't need to BE black to fight racism.  The reason I said The Daily Show's correspondent seemed racist was that she didn't have a problem with Dolezal had actually done while at the NAACP, but the fact that she couldn't do it because she was white.  Which to me still seems a little racist.

As for my 'notpology' it was to show that the things I'm saying aren't being said to offend anyone.  If I was trying to go after someone, I would say so.  It was my attempt to stay civil, and even now I have not said a single thing about you personally.  I am responding to your points and have no comments at all about who you are as a person.  I honestly don't think I need to do more than that to respect you.  When I said I feel sorry for you feeling insulted by what I said I meant it.  However I do believe in what I'm saying, and I do think it is important to share that.  So while you being hurt by my words is unfortunate, I will still speak my mind.

You said: "I've been reading. I see someone who's at best very very misguided - you don't get to claim your ally cookie while ignoring the actual wishes of real LGBT people, especially when they're telling you that your actions are harmful. As for Caitlyn Jenner specifically, what I was referring to specifically is this:"

I said I support LGBT, and I still do.  However just because I do doesn't mean I have to filter all my opinions to make sure they match up with LGBT ideology.  There are also people in this vary thread who identify as trans who also see certain similarities between Jenner and Dolezal, so I don't see LGBT as some one minded community where they all feel and think the same thing.  To do so would be ignorant and arrogant.  I don't see how my opinion on this subject works against LGBT.  On that note I also don't need the approval to feel justified in my view.  I believe all people should have equal rights, that those who are transgender should be able to express themselves.  That two consenting adults should be able to marry one another, despite the sex they identify with.  These are MY views that just happen to align with LGBT.  If for some reason tomorrow the LGBT community decides otherwise, MY views will stay the same.

As for what you quoted about Caitlyn Jenner.  I have known her as Bruce longer than I have her as Caitlyn.  When I refer to her as Bruce it isn't some malicious thing said to diminish her.  It is merely me not yet being used to calling her as Caitlyn.  Either way I don't know Caitlyn Jenner, and I doubt she visits these forums.  What I am saying about her has NO impact on her whatsoever, so I still think you were way off about your remark about me 'erasing' her identity.

Lastly: "This thread is about a PoC issue, only extremely tangentally connected to trans* issues at all, and yet somehow there's all sorts of crap in here that reases our identites, perpetuates the harmful narratives, and erases identities. If you really want to use us as your poster children, is it too much to ask that you show us some respect beyond a few mouthed platitudes? Maybe even consider that the known and established lies in Dolezal's case do, in fact, make her case significantly different from ours?"

To that I can only say this.  To ME this isn't a people of color issue, to me it is a freedom of expression issue.  I have said plenty of times now that transgender issues and transracial issues are two very different things.  All I have said is that I see similarities between the two of them.  I have also been nothing but respectful to everyone who has posted in this thread, and I have also talked about transgender with nothing but respect.  Just because my opinion on the subject differs from you does not mean I am demonizing transgender people.  You are projecting your views onto me.  You believe that Dolezal having lied about things should have an impact on her having the freedom to express herself.  I myself believe otherwise.  I addressed the issue of her lies earlier in this post, and at the end of the day I STILL believe she has the right to express herself however she sees fit.

Ps. Sho your post came up just as I was getting ready to post this one.  So I'm going to post this message, then read yours and respond to it.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #104 on: June 19, 2015, 01:51:50 AM »
Ephiral, let me try to respond to all of your points.

Everything you mentioned about Dolezal I have acknowledged in my past posts.  I have read her claim about identifying as black from the age of 5.  My interpretation of this is that it was the point where she started to realize that there is something different about her.  However just because a person comes to a realization about themselves, doesn't mean they'd feel comfortable enough admitting it to family or friends.  Also just because she felt she in part identified as black, also doesn't mean that in part she didn't identify as white.  After all the girl had white parents yet adopted black siblings.  I can see a person like that being confused for a while before they figured out how they truly feel.

As for her suing the Howard University I have read about that, though I don't know about the specifics.  I can't speak for her frame of mind as I do not know the person.  Perhaps at that point in her life she identified as white?  I don't think there is any rule that says you need to follow one particular narrative/belief your entire life?

I also read about her claiming some black man was her father.  I've already said in my earlier posts that I thought that was pretty messed up, so by no means am I choosing to 'ignore' the point.  It means she lied, as a result I still don't see how that means she doesn't have the right to express herself the way she sees fit?

I'd also like to clarify that I have not said anything negative about trans people.  I have provided links that have bigoted views against trans people only to illustrate that such views exist, and not that they are my line of thinking.  I have also never said or implied that trans people are lying.  What I did is quote the article that read "In attempting to pass as black, Dolezal falsely represented her identity. Trans people don't lie about their gender identities — they express their gender according to categories that reflect who they are."  My point was that the author of the article was that they believe Dolezal is falsely representing herself by claiming she is black.  When in reality there is no way to know how Dolezal sees herself.  The point I was trying to illustrate was that the author of the article chooses to believe trans people when they talk about their sexual identity, and simply chooses to believe Dolezal is lying even though it is impossible to objectively Dolezal believes.
And here's my problem with that: When you say that "trans people are telling the truth about their identities and Dolezal is lying" is just an opinion and may be wrong, there are two possible interpretations here: You are suggesting that either Dolezal may be honest, or that trans people may be lying about their identities.

We know for a fact that Dolezal has lies about her race. This is not up for debate. So... we can strike that one off the list. What does that leave us with? Either you have to ignore that she absolutely was lying (which you claim you aren't doing), or you are saying that trans people are lying about their identities.

Black people, or 'People of Color' are free to express themselves, I never said they couldn't.  All I'm saying is that other people who aren't white can also speak about race and racism.  That you don't need to BE black to understand racism, that you don't need to BE black to fight racism.  The reason I said The Daily Show's correspondent seemed racist was that she didn't have a problem with Dolezal had actually done while at the NAACP, but the fact that she couldn't do it because she was white.  Which to me still seems a little racist.
You claimed that it was racist to not let a white person speak for people of colour.Not ally themselves with, not add their voice to, but speak for. The correspondent you quoted even specifically said "We need allies". There is no conflict there - she wouldn't have had a problem with Dolezal speaking out against racism as a white person - the issue, specifically stated, was that she was replacing a black voice by virtue of pretending to be a black voice.

As for my 'notpology' it was to show that the things I'm saying aren't being said to offend anyone.  If I was trying to go after someone, I would say so.  It was my attempt to stay civil, and even now I have not said a single thing about you personally.  I am responding to your points and have no comments at all about who you are as a person.  I honestly don't think I need to do more than that to respect you.  When I said I feel sorry for you feeling insulted by what I said I meant it.  However I do believe in what I'm saying, and I do think it is important to share that.  So while you being hurt by my words is unfortunate, I will still speak my mind.
"Sorry you took that the wrong way" is not an apology. "I'm sorry I phrased that poorly", for example, would be. The wrong action here is not how I feel, it's equating trans people with a known liar.

I said I support LGBT, and I still do.  However just because I do doesn't mean I have to filter all my opinions to make sure they match up with LGBT ideology.
Talking over us isn't support. Erasing our identities isn't support. Perpetuating the narrative of trans people as deceitful isn't support.

There are also people in this vary thread who identify as trans who also see certain similarities between Jenner and Dolezal, so I don't see LGBT as some one minded community where they all feel and think the same thing.  To do so would be ignorant and arrogant.  I don't see how my opinion on this subject works against LGBT.
You really don't see how "This person who has definitely lied about their identity should be welcomed, because we welcome trans people!" plays into the narrative of trans people as liars? The narrative which, as I've mentioned before, gets us killed?

On that note I also don't need the approval to feel justified in my view.  I believe all people should have equal rights, that those who are transgender should be able to express themselves.  That two consenting adults should be able to marry one another, despite the sex they identify with.  These are MY views that just happen to align with LGBT.  If for some reason tomorrow the LGBT community decides otherwise, MY views will stay the same.
Sure, you're absolutely free to have your opinions and say what you want. And I'm absolutely free to point out that perpetuating things that cause harm to us is not how one goes about being an ally.

As for what you quoted about Caitlyn Jenner.  I have known her as Bruce longer than I have her as Caitlyn.  When I refer to her as Bruce it isn't some malicious thing said to diminish her.  It is merely me not yet being used to calling her as Caitlyn.  Either way I don't know Caitlyn Jenner, and I doubt she visits these forums.  What I am saying about her has NO impact on her whatsoever, so I still think you were way off about your remark about me 'erasing' her identity.
When you misgender a trans person, when you use their old name, you tell other trans people that our gender and identity either don't matter or aren't quite real to you. That's why this is important. This wasn't a huge deal in and of itself - hell, I still misgender some people who are a lot closer to me than Caitlyn Jenner is. You know what I do about it? I correct myself, say "Sorry about that", and move on, because I screwed up. You have instead chosen to try to justify your error and push it back as my mistaken perception. This... does not paint you in a flattering light.

To that I can only say this.  To ME this isn't a people of color issue, to me it is a freedom of expression issue.  I have said plenty of times now that transgender issues and transracial issues are two very different things.  All I have said is that I see similarities between the two of them.  I have also been nothing but respectful to everyone who has posted in this thread, and I have also talked about transgender with nothing but respect.  Just because my opinion on the subject differs from you does not mean I am demonizing transgender people.  You are projecting your views onto me.  You believe that Dolezal having lied about things should have an impact on her having the freedom to express herself.  I myself believe otherwise.  I addressed the issue of her lies earlier in this post, and at the end of the day I STILL believe she has the right to express herself however she sees fit.
Blackface: Not a PoC issue. Misgendering trans people: Respectful. Freedom of expression: Threatened by people who explicitly say "She's free to say this and we're free to find it offensive." Equating a known liar with a trans person: Not harmful at all. Is this an accurate summary of your position, then?

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #105 on: June 19, 2015, 02:38:49 AM »
Sho, I will get to you.  Promise.

Ephiral,

The whole thing where you imply that what I'm really saying is that trans people are lying is false.  You keep twisting my words to try and suit your narrative, I imagine you'll continue to do so.  I'm not saying anyone is lying about their identity.  I'm saying trans people are honest in how they identify themselves, and I believe Dolezal is also being honest in how she is identifying herself.  I... Don't really know how to portray my view in a simpler form.

You see Dolezal is a liar, and you just assume that me pointing out similarities between the two issues means I am lumping Dolezal in the same category as transgender, and thus labeling transgender people as liars.  That simply isn't what I'm saying, however if you want to continue to put words in my mouth I suppose you're free to do so.


"You claimed that it was racist to not let a white person speak for people of colour.Not ally themselves with, not add their voice to, but speak for. The correspondent you quoted even specifically said "We need allies". There is no conflict there - she wouldn't have had a problem with Dolezal speaking out against racism as a white person - the issue, specifically stated, was that she was replacing a black voice by virtue of pretending to be a black voice."

Dolezal may not have spent he entire life as a black person but she did for at least 10 years.  Who is to say that she hasn't been discriminated like a person who was born black within those 10 years?  Black or white Dolezal has spoken for black rights, has spoken about black issues.  So I still stand by my point that if everything she has done and said is now meaningless simply because people know she used to be white.  This is one of those points where I see a relation between how Dolezal is being treated and how a transgender person like Caitlyn Jenner would be treated.  It would be the exact same argument to say that Caitlyn Jenner doesn't have a right to speak for/as a woman simply because she only transitioned into a woman and wasn't born as one.

"Sorry you took that the wrong way" is not an apology. "I'm sorry I phrased that poorly", for example, would be. The wrong action here is not how I feel, it's equating trans people with a known liar.

I don't really think there is anything else for me to say on this.  I don't think I phrased anything poorly.  I guess I will continue to see some similarities between Jenner and Dolezal, and you'll continue to be offended by my view.

"Talking over us isn't support. Erasing our identities isn't support. Perpetuating the narrative of trans people as deceitful isn't support." 

I haven't done any of that.  It is your view and I suppose you're free to keep pushing that opinion.  It really doesn't move the debate along and what people think of me on an internet forum really doesn't bother me or affect my life one way or the other.

"You really don't see how "This person who has definitely lied about their identity should be welcomed, because we welcome trans people!" plays into the narrative of trans people as liars? The narrative which, as I've mentioned before, gets us killed?"

Again.  I'm not doing that.  I don't have any animosity towards anyone nor wish to see them harmed or killed.  I can't be held responsible for other people's actions.  Hitler was a christian and believed he was doing god's work.  Is god or Christianity to blame because Hitler misconstrued the bible?  No.  The blame lies entirely on him.  The most I can say is I don't wish to see any person, be it transgender or otherwise to be harmed or killed.  No one reading my words is going to go out and kill a trans person, and IF they did it wouldn't be cause I endorsed it because I have very clearly just stated what my view is.

"Sure, you're absolutely free to have your opinions and say what you want. And I'm absolutely free to point out that perpetuating things that cause harm to us is not how one goes about being an ally."

You are very much free to think and say that.  I however am not going to call you names or insinuate things about you because that simply does not move the debate/conversation along.

"When you misgender a trans person, when you use their old name, you tell other trans people that our gender and identity either don't matter or aren't quite real to you. That's why this is important. This wasn't a huge deal in and of itself - hell, I still misgender some people who are a lot closer to me than Caitlyn Jenner is. You know what I do about it? I correct myself, say "Sorry about that", and move on, because I screwed up. You have instead chosen to try to justify your error and push it back as my mistaken perception. This... does not paint you in a flattering light."

You actually are right on this point, and even though I didn't say it I am going to be more conscious about it from now on and refer to her as Caitlyn Jenner.

"Blackface: Not a PoC issue. Misgendering trans people: Respectful. Freedom of expression: Threatened by people who explicitly say "She's free to say this and we're free to find it offensive." Equating a known liar with a trans person: Not harmful at all. Is this an accurate summary of your position, then?"

"Blackface: Not a PoC issue."
I'm not saying that people can't see this as a blackface issue.  I'm just saying that I don't see it as a 'blackface' issue.  I am sharing my views as to why, just like black people are free to share why they think this is a blackface issue.

"Misgendering trans people: Respectful."
Just because I'm saying I see some similarities between the two situation you're claiming that I'm saying the two are the same because it helps push the narrative you have of me.  Again it doesn't really move the conversation/debate forward.

"Freedom of expression: Threatened by people who explicitly say "She's free to say this and we're free to find it offensive."
I never said people don't have the right to be offended.  Indeed freedom of speech goes both ways.  I said that people shouldn't find it offensive.  That however is my opinion.  Me saying "People shouldn't find that offensive" and me saying "You have no right to be offended, stop right now!!" are two very different things.  I can express my opinion without demanding others adhere to my way of thinking.

"Equating a known liar with a trans person: Not harmful at all. Is this an accurate summary of your position, then?"
You keep pushing that narrative as if somehow if you say it enough it'll become true.  That is not what I'm saying at all.  Again, you keep pushing the idea because I suppose it is just easier to put me in a specific box and classify me as someone who is just purposely being offensive all while using it as an excuse to dismiss my arguments and my point of view.

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #106 on: June 19, 2015, 05:57:18 AM »
Sho,

I kinda saved your reply for last because I wanted to take my time with it.  I've been spending a lot of time responding in this thread and it takes a fair bit of time.  Your post is one of the few that I think is actually moving the discussion forward.  I also appreciate you taking the time to respond to my points.  It was also really informative reading the points you made.  I may not have necessarily agreed with all of them but it was a good read.  I got a really good feel for the views you were trying to relay, so before I respond point to point I figured I'd try to explain my side of the argument.

For some people this is a big race/racial issue, and for other people their big issue is that Dolezal has lied about a great many things, and as such she must be lying about how she feels about her own race.  Or that she doesn't really care about anything other than being a victim and getting sympathy.  To me... This issue isn't about any of those things.  To me it is about a person having the freedom to express themselves.  I'm well aware that this makes some people uncomfortable, that its hurtful to others, and downright offensive to some.  My side of the argument would be the exact same if she was a black woman who was claiming to be white.  I don't believe that she needs the approval of another community to do something that makes her happy.  More than that it isn't Dolezal that I believe in, but more the idea of freedom of expression.  I'll elaborate just a little more on that point.  There are people who in this thread who have had a huge problem with me comparing Dolezal's situation with Caitlyn Jenner's.  Mainly because they see Dolezal as a liar, and as such I'm groping transgender people with a liar, the implication being that it means transgender people are lairs.  My question though is this.  What if there were  inconsistencies in her so called 'story'.  What if she is someone who claimed she identified as black from a young age, and everything she did was her trying to make that transition to be as physically close to that race as she felt on the inside.  I don't know Dolezal's mindset.  I can't say what it feels like to be a black person, just like I can't say what it must feel like to be a white person who feels they're black, or some other race on the inside.  She could be the only person on earth who ever has, or ever will feel that way, and just because she is in the smallest of minorities doesn't mean that she doesn't have a right to feel what she feels ya know?  That in a nutshell is where I stand on the subject.

That being said let me respond to your post itself.

In both the beginning and end of your post you emphasized how the majority of black people seem to feel a particular way about the situation so I should just suspend my personal belief.  To me that isn't really a valid enough reason to take back my opinion.  I mean once the majority believed that the earth is actually flat.  At one point in America's history the majority believed that slavery was perfectly okay.  Just because the majority believes something doesn't necessarily mean they're right.

I think our definition of racism might just be one of those things that we disagree on.  To me the implication and intent of a white person calling a black person the n word is the same as a black person calling a white person cracker.  Each is intended to be harmful.  The definition is just semantics to me.

The hair issue..  I can certainly see where you are coming from.  My point of view just happens to be different.  I think the issue you have has more to do with what the general consensus is of that style of hair.  What Dolezal does with her hair doesn't affect how white people see that style of hair.  The issue you have is that you believe she did it solemnly because it is a part of black culture, and to you that is wrong.  To me the reason is kinda irrelevant.  It doesn't matter to me if she did it because 1. She thought it looked cool or 2. She did it so she could look more black.  My end argument stays the same that she should still have the right to do it regardless of why.

About the N word, I do understand the history behind it.  I'm in Louisiana at the moment and there is actually a lot of racism here still, despite the fact that there is a very big black population here.  I believe it was sometime mid last year that someone was going around throwing KKK business cards on people's yards.  Some parts of northern Louisiana are still considered 'kkk country'... Which.. Honestly is pretty f-ed up and depressing in its own right, especially considering its 2015.  In some parts of the country racism is very strong.  That being said I still try to stay objective on the use of the n word.  It would be one thing if black people didn't use it at all, and didn't want others to use it.  To me what it boils down to is, once group of people CAN use the word because of their race, while another can't, ironically also because of their race.  This is another point that I think we just disagree on.

Your remark about using the cross as a door stopper.  I actually don't see anything wrong with that.  First commandment: You shall have no other gods before me.  Second commandment: You shall not make idols.  I know some people consider Jesus to be god, and an incarnate of god, but even so I believe the cross is an idol.  Not to mention we idolize a lot of religious figures.  People praying to the virgin Mary, and the saints.  That is a little off topic however.  You mentioned the swastika.  How if you wore a swastika armband and someone of the Jewish faith saw it, that they would be entitled in feeling offended.  I definitely think the Jewish person in that scenario would have the right to be offended.  The swastika is actually an Indian/Hindu symbol.  So in that same scenario, say the person wearing the swastika is a white Hindu.  Is the Hindu in the wrong for wearing it even though he is merely expressing is culture and religion, or should he just not express himself via his religion because Nazi's happen to steal their symbol and made it a symbol of evil? Or..  Should the Jewish person first make an inquiry and ask the reason behind the swastika being worn before getting offended?  My point here is simply this, it is a complicated subject, and there isn't always a clear 'right' or a clear 'wrong'. 

"The primary issue with appropriation is that white people take something valued by ethnic minorities (take the bindi, for example), and they strip it entirely of it’s meaning. They use these things because they think it’s ‘cool’ or ‘pretty’. In Dolezal’s case, she used it because for some reason she wanted to align herself with a traditionally ill-treated group."  I don't believe that is a valid argument, for no other reason than why do white people have such a big influence on black culture?  I'll go back to your hair example.  If you want dreads, why are you letting white people's definition of it being 'dirty' or whatever, affect your actions?  I mean in certain instances you just have to make sacrifices to function in the world. I mean I'd like to run around naked everywhere, but if I did I'd probably 1. get arrested and I'd get singled out.  I think for me I'm just... Whats the word.. More of an internal person?  The clothes I wear don't really matter to me, nor does my type of hairstyle.  I can see your side of the argument though.  That in some instances black people can't express themselves because there is this image that dreaded hair on black people is dirty, so if they want a good job and whatnot, they have to forgo that one thing that they feel expresses who they are.  I do understand, I just don't see Dolezal as a contributing factor ya know?

You briefly talked about 'an ideal world'.  Which actually reminded me of a quote.  Its from a tv show called Angel, the main character talking to his son.  Anyway the quote is "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh, and cruel. But that's why there's us - champions. Doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world is as it should be, to show it what it can be." I wouldn't say I 'live' by that, but I do believe in the sentiment because that is the world I want to live in.  I do think the world needs to change, and I think the first step in changing the world is changing ourselves.  In a perfect world I don't think Dolezal's actions would be an issue, and she'd surely have the right to do whatever she wanted because there would be no racism/oppression.  That is the mindset that I try to have.  That is one of the ways I fight racism, bigotry, and cruelty.  That being said I also see where you are coming from, that sometimes we have to compromise ourselves to live in the world we live in as opposed to the world we want to live in.  I think were we differ is where, and for what things we each compromise for.  For you race and racial issues are things where at times you're forced to compromise.

I'll try to give you an example for something I'd make a compromise for.  Say I had a daughter and she calls me up and says "Dad, I'm going bar hopping and drinking on my own late at night tonight okay?"  In a perfect world I could just say "Sure sweetheart, you're an adult, you can do whatever you want" Because in a perfect world a young woman could do whatever she wanted, go wherever she wanted without any danger.  However we don't live in that world, so what I say to her would have to reflect the world we live in. "I want you to have fun sweetheart but the world is a dangerous place.  If you're going to have fun please practice caution.  If you're going to drink, know your limit.  If you're going clubbing or bar hopping go with a friend and never do it alone, especially late at night." That is a situation that for me you have to compromise in order to make sure your loved one is safe.

You mentioned the scholarship thing, and if I'm being honest there has been a lot of 'back and forth' with Dolezal, so I can definitely see her taking something away from a black person who has fought hard to get to that point, was denied that opportunity because of Dolezal.  I really can't argue that, and I don't.  However I still see it as an act that has affected just one person, not an entire community as a whole.  Just because something happens to one black person, doesn't always mean mean that all black people are affected.  Of course I'm not saying, nor am I implying that that is ALWAYS the case.  I just believe that in this situation it is something that only affects that one person that she potentially stole the scholarship from.

Going back to the fake cousin example, you asked me why I can defend one point and not the other.  The reason I can is because I don't see them as the same thing.  The cousin example is something that would affect ME, PERSONALLY.  It is something that would have become a part of my life, someone who would have affected my day to day life.  Someone who I would have invested my love, and emotion into.  So.. I can see the anger, and hate, and all that jazz.  Now in relation to Dolezal.  What she did... I don't believe affects the black community in that way.  I've said before that at best people can just classify her as 'a crazy person' and move on.  Continue going on with their lives, and deal with the issues that matter.  Especially know that she isn't even part of the NAACP, she is literally 'just some crazy woman' according to a lot of people.  Why does she have such a hold on the black community?  Because they choose to make it an issue.

Now about the articles you linked me to.  I was able to read the 'Appropriation vs Appreciation' link, however the other one that was from the The Wall Street Journal, you either have to be a member and signed into read the article.  If you pm me the article I will surely read it.  While I understood where the appropriation article was coming from I suppose that just isn't how I think.  I don't really feel a cultural affinity to the clothes I wear and as such I really don't pay much heed to if the things I'm wearing affects other cultures or not.  The way I see it one person wearing a sombrero, or something related to some other culture isn't going to have an impact.  I'm not sensitive about those things so I expect the same of others.

Okay I think that covers everything.  Mind you it is almost 6am and I have been up all night so I'm not exactly 100%.  I will say this though, out of all the posts I have responded to in this thread I think yours has been my favorite, and one of the few posts where I felt some kind of meaningful exchange was being had.

Offline consortium11Topic starter

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #107 on: June 19, 2015, 07:34:29 AM »
This is a somewhat scattergun reply picking out points that caught my attention:

"Cultural appropriation remains a concern for a variety of reasons. For one, this sort of “borrowing” is exploitative because it robs minority groups of the credit they deserve. Art and music forms that originated with minority groups come to be associated with members of the dominant group. As a result, the dominant group is deemed innovative and edgy, while the disadvantaged groups they “borrow” from continue to face negative stereotypes that imply they’re lacking in intelligence and creativity. In addition, when members of a dominant group appropriate the cultures of others, they often reinforce stereotypes about minority groups."

This strikes me as a far more limited use of the term then it's commonly presented as. Each Halloween one can invariably expect a celebrity to wear a First Nation/Native American style headdress and for them invariably to be called out for cultural appropriation in doing so. Yet the very fact that it's referred to as a First Nation/Native American style headdress indicates to me that it's clear who the headdress is associated with. The same strikes me as applying to music; you may get non-African (and more specifically non-Zulu) groups who sing in a isicathamiya or mbube style but those styles are still presented and known as being African. Hip hop is similar... there are huge numbers of non-black rappers, DJ's, b-boys and graffeti artists, but hip hop is still presented as something tied deeply to black culture (more specifically African-American). Perhaps the only example I can really think of is rock and roll which is largely presented as a white movement despite the incredibly heavy debt it owes to rhythm and blues, swing jazz and ragtime. But even then rock and roll also owes a considerable debt to country and traditional European folk; it strikes me that rock and roll was a blending of a multitude of musical styles from a multitude of sources rather than any single one (or even a number) being appropriated from others.

So to answer your question, Donezal's appropriation of traditionally black hairstyles designed to be protective (re: her box braids, bantu knots, and dreads) of natural hair to stop breakage is harmful.

Dreads strike me as quite an awkward example here because there's already been... I'm not sure "reverse cultural appropriation" is the appropriate term but it somewhat conveys the point... with them. These days most people associate dreadlocks with black and, more specifically, Jamaican rasta culture but their origins are far more diverse than that. The Maasai of Kenya are famous for their own take on dreadlocks and could they not claim that their tribes culture being absorbed into a wider "black" culture is appropriation of its own? The Ngagpa of Tibet historically wore dreads as do many Hindu holy men (and women). Many Greeks appeared to wear dreads with a large number of the surviving kouros depicting men wearing them. Perhaps the best example to point to however is the Nazirites as the Rastafarian style of dreadlocks is explicitly taken from them. In essence with dreadlocks what you have is a style which today is heavily associated with one cultural group and thus ignores the other sources while the cultural group it is associated with openly took it (I'm not sure if appropriated is the right term to use) from another.

Before I get into this, I’d love to point out that if a massive portion of a population is saying there is a problem (i.e. the black community saying that this is wrong), then sometimes we just need to suspend our personal disbelief and simply accept that. If ten women say that a particular action by a man bothers them, sometimes they don’t need to justify it, the behavior simply needs to stop.

I'm not sure I can agree with this at all. We can all point to examples both current and historic where a massive portion of a given population say there is a problem and that something is wrong. And we've been on the right side of history to ignore them. Even today we have to deal with the homophobes, frequently religious, who claim that LGBT people are "against nature" (or similar such phrases) and they are unfortunately still a fairly largish part of the population. Things were worse not that long ago. To use America as an example in 2001 around 60% opposed gay marriage. Even today its around 40%. Those who stated they were religious were even less tolerant. To go with the UK in the 1980's more than half the population didn't think it was acceptable for a gay or lesbian person to be a teacher and 4/10 didn't think it was acceptable for them to hold a position in public life. Thankfully rather than say "well, a large amount of the population thinks it's a problem so we'll stop" LGBT people and their allies continued to both campaign and take part in public life and attitudes changed (although there's still considerable work to be done).

Alrighty moving onto the whole problematic Caitlyn Jenner/Dolezal comparison. Read this article please. It breaks down, a little bit, the fact that the differences in the brain chemistry of people who are transgendered is actually observable. It is absolutely not true that difference in brains between black and white have been observed. Until you can provide legitimate science to prove that black and white brains are notably different in the same way that male and female brains are different, and also prove that white people are born with ‘black’ brains, please leave this particular point alone.

Actually it's been established for a long, long time that there are differences between the brains of different races. What hasn't been established is if that actually makes any material difference and, if it does, what those differences are. Here's one study that sums up some existing research while offering some of its own.

Except they aren't even remotely similar, as explained quite thoroughly here, here, & here.

None of these articles strike me as explaining the difference with any real clarity or confidence.

The first bases it's argument on the fact that Dolezal is lying about her identity while trans* people are not. But those advocating for a trans* race position are arguing that what Dolezal is doing isn't lying; she's reflecting her true identity. They may be right or wrong by taking that position but the article never really gets gives a satisfactory answer to why they're wrong.

It focuses on skin colour as racial identity and that your skin colour defines the way people interact with you. But if before this whole controversy had broken I'd put a picture of Dolezal up in this forum and posted "I don't think she's black" merely on the basis of how she looks I suspect the replies I got would hardly be supportive of me. If skin colour defines race and how one is perceived and interacted with then the argument has to follow that having a "black" skin colour, whatever the source, is enough to make one black. It also leads us to the rather awkward position where albinos are denied their racial heritage on account of their condition. As I mentioned before Dolezal may have had some form of "pale privilege" when presenting herself as black due to the relative lightness of her skin tone but then so do many people with two black parents.

The article then makes the point that Dolezal could "change back"; change her hair, stop using tanning products etc etc and take her privilege back. That's undoubtedly true but it strikes me as being a weak argument on two levels. The first is that she didn't and doesn't appear to be about to do so now. The article talks about how being black entails discrimination, marginalization, oppression and so on. As far as I'm aware no-one outside of her family questioned Dolezal's "blackness" prior to this news breaking or treated her as if she wasn't black. Thus she has spent years being subject to those same things. The second weakness is that it seems to me this argument actually undermines the distinction the argument is trying to make between race and sex/gender. Pre-op a trans* person can stop taking hormones and stop presenting themselves as the sex/gender they feel inside and thus no longer be treated as trans. Even post-op, surgeries can be reversed; would we look at this person and think of them as being a transwoman? The fact that something can be reversed doesn't strike me as being a strong argument to suggest that it isn't "real". Now, the counter here would be to go back to the first point of the article; that Dolezal is false representing her identity while trans* people, reverseable outer appearance or not, are presenting what is truly inside. But as I first mentioned, the article at no points puts together a convincing argument that Dolezal is falsely representing herself rather than reflecting what she feels inside; they use the skin colour, treatment by others and reversibility angle that I've mentioned above.

The article about the Daily Show segment has the same issue; it takes as read that Dolezal is lying about how she feels or identifies and doesn't even begin to engage with the argument that she identifies as black and feels black (whatever that may mean) on the inside.

The third article runs into the issue that it claims both race and gender (note; not gender roles, gender) are social constructs and then spends the rest of it desperately trying to back away from that position. It argues that Dolezal can't feel "black" because as a social construct there's no such internal feeling as "black"; it's something assigned to you by others. But if something being a social construct means that one can't "feel" it internally then how can a trans* person feel their gender internally? It argues that while a white person such as Dolezal could pass as black a black person could not do the same... an argument which struggles with someone like Anatole Broyard. It's idea that you're either 100% or not white at all also faces difficulties when confronted by say Wentworth Miller or Clark Gable... two people who I suspect if people were shown a picture of and told to identify their race most would say "white" despite their mixed heritage. Perhaps most dramatically George Zimmerman was frequently portrayed as white in the media.

Offline Haloriel

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #108 on: June 19, 2015, 07:54:12 AM »
-reads thread, and blinks slowly-

I ...

Yes.

Liars suck and should not do that.  It is not nice and hurts others and in fact does damage the self.

Forgive me, while I could actually type out several paragraphs about this "issue", I simply do not desire to. 

End of the day, the woman lied and it was both sad and hilarious (because she earned the bad press imo) to see her lies fall apart as they usually do.   Nothing else really matters to me.

However:

@consortium11: Wentworth Miller's features actually look a lot like my sons (he's a tiny kid though, mine is) and I'd not call either white unless he desired it.  I personally am of varied (mostly non-white) ethnicity and my husband is varied European-American).  People actually get confused when they meet only my children and husband first because both of my young ones do not look like any specific ethnic group unless you know what to pin point.  One person (a Syrian woman) in the grocery store asked if my daughter was partially Saudi Arabian (and she is not, but does have an extremely small Semitic heritage).

Fascinatingly, Zimmerman is Peruvian/German-American (with supposedly a bit of African heritage on the Peruvian side), and identified as Hispanic.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 09:59:21 AM by Haloriel »

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #109 on: June 19, 2015, 09:28:31 AM »
The reason why dreads are brought up is because of how black people are seen dirty or drug dealers for wearing them...however a modern white person is praised for trying something different. Tribal cultures in general have similarities....but we are modernized people and why it's hurtful. I dony know why thats so hard to understand.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 09:42:44 AM by la dame en noir »

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #110 on: June 19, 2015, 10:29:02 AM »
First of all, something I think I should mention: I have absolutely no issue with comparison, in the abstract, of the concept of transgender and transracial. My issue lies mostly in comparing this person who is a known, proven liar on matters of identity and race with trans people.

The whole thing where you imply that what I'm really saying is that trans people are lying is false.  You keep twisting my words to try and suit your narrative, I imagine you'll continue to do so.  I'm not saying anyone is lying about their identity.  I'm saying trans people are honest in how they identify themselves, and I believe Dolezal is also being honest in how she is identifying herself.  I... Don't really know how to portray my view in a simpler form.
Okay. So you believe Dolezal is telling the truth despite having been caught lying and admitting this was a lie. Which means that, contrary to your prior statements, you are in fact ignoring that she is a liar on matters directly pertaining to race and identity.

You see Dolezal is a liar, and you just assume that me pointing out similarities between the two issues means I am lumping Dolezal in the same category as transgender, and thus labeling transgender people as liars.  That simply isn't what I'm saying, however if you want to continue to put words in my mouth I suppose you're free to do so.
You have repeatedly asked why we shouldn't accept Dolezal, given that we accept trans people. The answer "Because she is a known liar on matters pertaining to her claimed identity." has not satisfied you. Ergo, you are asserting - whether or not you intend to - that if trans people are acceptable, then people who lie about their identities are. Which strongly implies that trans people are lying about their identities. This is an unavoidable implication of your argument, unless you actually take the time to acknowledge and address that her lying makes the two wildly different.


Dolezal may not have spent he entire life as a black person but she did for at least 10 years.  Who is to say that she hasn't been discriminated like a person who was born black within those 10 years?  Black or white Dolezal has spoken for black rights, has spoken about black issues.  So I still stand by my point that if everything she has done and said is now meaningless simply because people know she used to be white.  This is one of those points where I see a relation between how Dolezal is being treated and how a transgender person like Caitlyn Jenner would be treated.  It would be the exact same argument to say that Caitlyn Jenner doesn't have a right to speak for/as a woman simply because she only transitioned into a woman and wasn't born as one.
Except that this completely ignores the historical context of white people speaking for black people, talking over them, and making decisions for them. Trans people do not have such a history of speaking for cis people.

I don't really think there is anything else for me to say on this.  I don't think I phrased anything poorly.  I guess I will continue to see some similarities between Jenner and Dolezal, and you'll continue to be offended by my view.
There are some similar concepts at play, sure. And those might be worth investigating - but not unless we take pains to make it clear that there is also at least one huuuuuuge difference that makes accepting Dolezal on the grounds that we accept trans people difficult and problematic.

"Talking over us isn't support. Erasing our identities isn't support. Perpetuating the narrative of trans people as deceitful isn't support." 

I haven't done any of that.  It is your view and I suppose you're free to keep pushing that opinion.  It really doesn't move the debate along and what people think of me on an internet forum really doesn't bother me or affect my life one way or the other.
By "move the debate along", you mean "roll over and accept your position"? No, I'm not going to do that. Spoiler alert: Not only have you done these things, you will apologize for one of them later in this very post.

"You really don't see how "This person who has definitely lied about their identity should be welcomed, because we welcome trans people!" plays into the narrative of trans people as liars? The narrative which, as I've mentioned before, gets us killed?"

Again.  I'm not doing that.  I don't have any animosity towards anyone nor wish to see them harmed or killed.  I can't be held responsible for other people's actions.  Hitler was a christian and believed he was doing god's work.  Is god or Christianity to blame because Hitler misconstrued the bible?  No.  The blame lies entirely on him.  The most I can say is I don't wish to see any person, be it transgender or otherwise to be harmed or killed.  No one reading my words is going to go out and kill a trans person, and IF they did it wouldn't be cause I endorsed it because I have very clearly just stated what my view is.
I would absolutely argue that people who supported Hitler's presentation of the Jews as causing all of Germany's problems are responsible. You have been making the argument I cited. This does, in fact, play into this narrative. You may not harbor any animosity, but you are reinforcing the culture that makes it okay to abuse us. If you really care about being an ally, please stop making it easier to hurt us.

You are very much free to think and say that.  I however am not going to call you names or insinuate things about you because that simply does not move the debate/conversation along.
I have called you no names. All I've been doing is pointing out the rather ugly implications of what you've been saying. Any insinuation you see is a direct result of you clinging to such problematic arguments: You are showing by your actions that being a good ally and reducing risk to trans people is less important to you than your argument.

"When you misgender a trans person, when you use their old name, you tell other trans people that our gender and identity either don't matter or aren't quite real to you. That's why this is important. This wasn't a huge deal in and of itself - hell, I still misgender some people who are a lot closer to me than Caitlyn Jenner is. You know what I do about it? I correct myself, say "Sorry about that", and move on, because I screwed up. You have instead chosen to try to justify your error and push it back as my mistaken perception. This... does not paint you in a flattering light."

You actually are right on this point, and even though I didn't say it I am going to be more conscious about it from now on and refer to her as Caitlyn Jenner.
Thank you. This is much appreciated. I am confused on how to reconcile this with your above statement that you did not erase a trans person's identity, though.

"Blackface: Not a PoC issue."
I'm not saying that people can't see this as a blackface issue.  I'm just saying that I don't see it as a 'blackface' issue.  I am sharing my views as to why, just like black people are free to share why they think this is a blackface issue.
...fair, but tricky: It comes off as very condescending and a bit racist for a white person to tell black people that nope, this actually isn't a racial issue at all. (Remember, white privilege includes the fact that a lot of racism is invisible to you. Tread carefully.

"Misgendering trans people: Respectful."
Just because I'm saying I see some similarities between the two situation you're claiming that I'm saying the two are the same because it helps push the narrative you have of me.  Again it doesn't really move the conversation/debate forward.
You misgendered Caitlyn Jenner. You then went on to say that you had been "nothing but respectful" to trans people. Please reconcile these statements instead of going into a complete non-sequitur on this point.

"Freedom of expression: Threatened by people who explicitly say "She's free to say this and we're free to find it offensive."
I never said people don't have the right to be offended.  Indeed freedom of speech goes both ways.  I said that people shouldn't find it offensive.  That however is my opinion.  Me saying "People shouldn't find that offensive" and me saying "You have no right to be offended, stop right now!!" are two very different things.  I can express my opinion without demanding others adhere to my way of thinking.
And yet me saying "please stop reinforcing harmful narratives" is different? Not quite sure how. You're free to reject my request - just as I'm free to point out that your actions show that being an ally is less important to you than never admitting you were wrong.

"Equating a known liar with a trans person: Not harmful at all. Is this an accurate summary of your position, then?"
You keep pushing that narrative as if somehow if you say it enough it'll become true.  That is not what I'm saying at all.  Again, you keep pushing the idea because I suppose it is just easier to put me in a specific box and classify me as someone who is just purposely being offensive all while using it as an excuse to dismiss my arguments and my point of view.

I think comparing the Dolezal with Jenner is very much related.  Bruce Jenner has been a man pretty much his whole life.  He might have said that he has always felt he was a woman but up until a few years ago he was living AS a man.  Everyone seems to be very accepting when it comes to Jenner.  I personally don't care, it doesn't bother me in the least that Bruce Jenner now identifies as a woman, I don't care that he lived most of his life as a man.  If he identified as a horse next week it wouldn't bother me either.. He is an adult, his actions really aren't affecting me, or hurting anyone else.. So.. He should have the right to identify as whatever.

The same standard should be applied to Rachel Dolezal.  Her actions aren't really hurting anyone.  She isn't a racist.  She identifies as a black person, and has actually tried to help black people.  Is there now some kind of rule that you can't speak for black people unless you're born black?  Personally I don't think its important for her to have experienced the life of a black person to identify with a black person. 

There seems to be some kind of weird double standard where people accept one kind of transition and not the other.  I also don't understand what it is she has done wrong.  As people I think we hide a lot of things about ourselves for various reasons.  Some things we want to hide because we're ashamed of them, or its just a personal preference..   I also don't understand what she is supposed to do.  "Oh I know I now look black, though I identify as a black person, you should know that my parents are actually white"  It isn't exactly the kind of declaration we ask of anyone else.
Ignoring the misgendering of Jenner here... I've bolded the parts of your original argument where you directly equate the two and say they are perfectly equivalent - if we accept one but not the other, it's a weird double standard. I've italicized the bits where you acknowledge that Dolezal's lies about matters pertaining to her identity make it very different from an actual trans person, thereby avoiding the implication that trans people are lying.

Please note that this was the launching point of a long chain of argument from you, using this equivalency as a basis. One you still haven't amended or apologized for. One in which you acknowledged the lies and continued to push the equivalency in the same breath.

I still don't think you're trying to be deliberately offensive. If I did, I'd see little point in trying to talk to you. I think that not admitting you're wrong has become way more important to you than actually supporting LGBT people or people of colour. Please show me that this is mistaken.

Offline Sho

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #111 on: June 19, 2015, 11:14:20 AM »
To me the implication and intent of a white person calling a black person the n word is the same as a black person calling a white person cracker.  Each is intended to be harmful.  The definition is just semantics to me.

And with this, I'm respectfully bowing out. If you don't understand the differences (and presumably you have access to Google and can educate yourself on why those words are so different), then at this point I'm just going to be going back and forth with you without any meaningful exchange. I would recommend that you do a bit of soul-searching and try to figure out why you're so determined to take away one of the few things the black community has been able to gain back, namely, the ability to determine their cultural heritage without white people dictating it or weighing in on it.

I'm stepping out of this topic now since I'm getting somewhat upset and I don't think that's going to help anyone.

Offline kylie

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #112 on: June 19, 2015, 11:43:42 AM »
      Okay, I have said multiple times that I do not feel I know everything about the case.  In fairness, I should probably quit reading you people so much and spend more time reading various reports about it.  :P  But I'm fascinated with how everything is getting read and played so often really, in a situation where she seems to have gone to so much trouble and passed so widely, and yes been in a public representative position...  And it comes to this close where so many seem to need to insist some side (Blacks? The law? Civilization? Biology?) is all victim/misused and one (Dolezal) is all wrong.  And sometimes with the implied addendum, and there is nothing else you should say or dare find ironic here. 

     Oh and color me rebellious, but I'm quite intrigued how people get so riled up about deception.  Or maybe, I should say:  Which kinds are cited as cause to claim someone is beyond the pale as opposed to which kinds of deception do we accept/ignore.  And what if in fact, Dolezal or we could learn something important from what happened anyway.

      I see Dame going off about how this is just another same old violation, get offended or get educated people, and I see others saying it's her business, and I don't entirely agree with either.  My gut feeling with just a general sketch so far, is this is one of those situations where there is really a lot of complexity and maybe you're all partly right (I mean, those taking such passionate, singular sides about it) but I think there are probably a lot of interesting fault lines in this. 

      It's hardly all a simple game, and I do have my armchair privilege of being far away with a halfway secure life for the moment.  But even without all the background and catching snippets of "She lied!" here, stuffed mailbox there 'what more do you need?' sort of claims...  I honestly suspect that there's a lot more to be learned than this side right, that side wrong, scoff and go away now.  Even disasters often have complexity...  And maybe, just maybe this isn't such a simply racist disaster as some.

       The theories of oppression, appropriation and the like?  Yes, I've heard some of them before, and yes they are useful in some situations.  (And theories of positive appropriation could be useful in some, too.)  But I still feel here it's too often without a lot of serious discussion of the particulars.  I sense more "If she did, then she must be" and well not everyone who wears a Swastika is a true Nazi, either -- no matter how much you dislike it.  There's less here on what sorts of dynamic and internal process people think make those particulars "fit" those theories, and the theories are much more about psychological and cultural capture (privilege makes it so whenever group Y adopts from group X, which is sometimes yes but not at all automatically true I think). 

     I like a bit of "neat fitting" theory too, but this makes me see how hard it is to convince people sometimes when most of your language is so reliant on reciting the theory and btw short on reasonable disclaimers social scientists usually give, in longer real discursive efforts to consider first and conditionally link those theories with the specifics of the case.  I'm sorry, but overall I still feel a lot more quick indictment here than considered study.  Maybe I'm just reading around too fast?  Or maybe it's cause I joined recently and more of the recent stuff is that and I don't spend very much time trying to read and memorize every back page.  The prosecuting convo recently has a lot of "isn't it obvious," sort of feel though -- and that makes me pretty leery that it probably isn't entirely all so simple as that.

      In short? I'm still feeling there's a little too much "smells like a duck" (with neat theory on top) and rather less explanation of what might plausibly  have happened with that duck anyway. ("Might plausibly" cause after all, if we try to claim meaning for her, that is speaking for her for sake of our own judgment.)  Also to be fair, Dame could be right in one sense where Dolezal is just an insane duck.  By which I mean here, what if she's just someone so confusing that she both breaks taboos like lying and it's terribly hard for us to discuss her internal experience in ways that really are convincing.     But I think the insane are usually still interesting enough to say more than just oh, how awful!  Sometimes the "sane" people even learn how the rest of us all are well, not fully sane.  And suddenly life is more complicated again, than just look how omg evil some of us are to each other (and quick, reinforce that fence!). 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 12:00:15 PM by kylie »

Offline kylie

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #113 on: June 19, 2015, 11:58:45 AM »
The thing that still concerns me is the apparent falsification of 'hate crimes'.  It is this that convinces me that Rachel Dolezal may have a tendency to embrace and perpetuate falsehoods.  This makes her inherently unbelievable and unreliable.  If she is willing to put a hate-filled diatribe into her own P.O. Box and report it to the police - which ends up wasting time and resources that could be used to investigate actual hate crimes where people (including those people that she claims to represent and care deeply for) are in actual danger - then what else is she willing to lie about?

     I've tried to indicate before that I feel in some ways, we have societies (and even a notion of identity boundaries at times) built so often of half-truths, exceptions to the definition, unwritten parts of the instructions (including the definitions of things) and poignant omissions.  We go around looking for "fundamental" differences as the be all and end all of identity -- a source of nature without any nurture in the picture.  And when we don't have them we fudge, and when we can we don't share, and when we can some of us change our look, and when we change our minds we get as far as we can from the middle of that group we don't want anymore cause it's no longer "us" (or we say, we have "realized"!) -- even if we can't leave cause there's nowhere else to go.  And I suppose quite a few have made up their minds, but I need to go back and decide if I really think there' s enough evidence that Dolezal was only profiteering.  But how many people can profiteer without manipulating identity lines?  How many people can hold a regular old workaday job without manipulating identity lines either? 

         It's not that there are no real differences and no real histories.  It's that the lines don't always neatly stand for all the experience of real people and places, where many of them do brush up, or cross, or at least (sometimes even in the process of lying) honestly start to experience and understand a thing or two about how the whole system of lines and boundaries works.  So I am tempted to wonder if washing our hands of the whole case by simply calling her a liar thing, isn't a bit crass or at least missing all the things that objectively, this case could bring out about how the society works here and now.

        In the early 2000's, sociologist Devah Pager had a study where people were dressed up as very similar job applicants, but some of them had a criminal background in their resumes, and again some were Black.  They were sent off to interview at companies and see who got callbacks or job offers.  It was all a deception.  Companies were up in arms because it was all a lie.  They complained that their time was wasted.  And the study found that Whites were more likely to get callbacks and offers -- not only that, but Whites with a criminal record were still incredibly competitve against Blacks with a clean record.  We can learn a thing or two from what happens during or after deceit...  Perhaps even deceit that didn't sit before a university ethics panel (and quite a few that do, never get to be a live study at all for better OR worse). 

        Was there nothing productive that came out of Dolezal and all this?  Or is the vote leaning toward: Too scant to even mention, while there's so much about is it racist or just simply liar today?  What about how she passed so well?  Isn't it a problem if the theory of (negative) appropriation is going to be the criticism of first resort whenever someone steps across the line and adopts things from another community?  That's a constant veto power, if so --- never say anything that might be taken to represent us.  I mean I like a few disclaimers myself too, but this can get out of hand right quick.  Isn't it more likely that she's done both some things that were very positive (including shaking up the notion that no one "could ever" pass as Black, even?), that as NAACP leader she's at least contributed to some good things too, and that she's done some things many of you are quick to slap down because hey, she lied and apparently no one else ever lies so badly in polite society for any partly good ends even.  Is that it?

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #114 on: June 19, 2015, 12:11:57 PM »
Going off? Lol I dont know what to say.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #115 on: June 19, 2015, 12:17:36 PM »
kylie, as always your ideas are interesting, but I think you're a bit off base.

 It's not that nobody ever lies or misrepresents themselves. A given course of action isn't good or bad based on how many people do it; it's about the good and harm caused. Right now, I see very little good she accomplished with blackface that she couldn't have done as a white ally. I do see a lot of harm caused directly by her holding herself out as black - resources taken away from people who needed them and damage to the credibility of anti-racists in general and the NAACP in particular. That's what makes this unacceptable.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 12:23:57 PM by Ephiral »

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #116 on: June 19, 2015, 12:21:38 PM »
Regardless of her intentions, what Dolezal did was unethical. She shouldn't have done it.

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #117 on: June 19, 2015, 03:31:00 PM »
Regardless of her intentions, what Dolezal did was unethical. She shouldn't have done it.

That's all there is to this, and what pretty much what I said.  A+ Deamonbane.

@Ephiral: That too was a good point.  She could have likely done more as a white ally, as herself just as someone in love with the culture and people.

If she had swung her privilege around as a white woman for the cause of anyone, really - its still a story, and would have been good press instead of bad.

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #118 on: June 19, 2015, 03:43:52 PM »
It is better to fight beside someone than it is to presume that they cannot fight for themselves.

Offline Haloriel

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #119 on: June 19, 2015, 03:52:33 PM »
It is better to fight beside someone than it is to presume that they cannot fight for themselves.

Well said.  :-)

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #120 on: June 19, 2015, 03:57:37 PM »
That's all there is to this, and what pretty much what I said.  A+ Deamonbane.

@Ephiral: That too was a good point.  She could have likely done more as a white ally, as herself just as someone in love with the culture and people.

If she had swung her privilege around as a white woman for the cause of anyone, really - its still a story, and would have been good press instead of bad.


What irks me the most about it, is that white people are allowed to have any position in the NAACP. Like...why marginalize yourself when you could exert that privilege you were given at birth, for good? You wanna fight white privilege? What better way than to bite the hand? Though I can't say I know the politics within that organization. Maybe there's dissonance between the races and black prejudice against whites could make that easier said than done. At least it sounds good in theory. Dolezal essentially traded a sword for a dagger. Shit needs to be cut through - and a sword would cut it better. There wasn't even anything stopping her from using aspects of black culture appreciatively while still holding the sword.

Of course, that's probably already been said in this thread. But it's my thoughts regardless.

Offline Haloriel

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #121 on: June 19, 2015, 04:31:23 PM »
What irks me the most about it, is that white people are allowed to have any position in the NAACP. Like...why marginalize yourself when you could exert that privilege you were given at birth, for good? You wanna fight white privilege? What better way than to bite the hand? Though I can't say I know the politics within that organization. Maybe there's dissonance between the races and black prejudice against whites could make that easier said than done. At least it sounds good in theory. Dolezal essentially traded a sword for a dagger. Shit needs to be cut through - and a sword would cut it better. There wasn't even anything stopping her from using aspects of black culture appreciatively while still holding the sword.

Of course, that's probably already been said in this thread. But it's my thoughts regardless.

Nah, that's actually perfect.  She traded a sword for a dagger in the terms of 'who will sit up and actually listen', as sad as that is to say.  It should not be that way, but it is.  Biting the hand is also an excellent analogy.

Offline Cycle

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #122 on: June 19, 2015, 06:31:49 PM »
I'm just going to be going back and forth with you without any meaningful exchange.

Yeah, that's pretty much it.  IP appears to be the only one that thinks what Dolezal did was acceptable.  He's entitled to his opinion, and given his posting history, it clear he's going to continue to hold that opinion for the indefinite future.  And he'll probably keep posting about it too.

I say, great!  Have fun.  Knock yourself out. 

Some folks make the mistake of thinking they can "win" a debate in one of these threads by posting a lot, posting well, and/or posting last (i.e., getting the last word)--or that they can "lose" a debate by not responding to every point thrown at them.  That may be true in a face to face debate, but not in this forum setting.  Everything that people post stays.  It can't be deleted (without incurring the ire of Staff).  So everyone can read what is written, reflect on it, and draw their own conclusions about the poster and the poster's arguments.  And this can happen days, months, years from now.  So posting a lot (of lousy) arguments--say, in the heat of anger or by a drive to "win" the debate--is a very, very bad idea since it can tarnish your image forever.

Besides, spending too much time arguing here just takes time away from your writing partners.  And really.  Of the two, who is more important to you?  :-)


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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #123 on: June 19, 2015, 06:43:56 PM »
Yeah, that's pretty much it.  IP appears to be the only one that thinks what Dolezal did was acceptable.  He's entitled to his opinion, and given his posting history, it clear he's going to continue to hold that opinion for the indefinite future.  And he'll probably keep posting about it too.

I say, great!  Have fun.  Knock yourself out. 

Some folks make the mistake of thinking they can "win" a debate in one of these threads by posting a lot, posting well, and/or posting last (i.e., getting the last word)--or that they can "lose" a debate by not responding to every point thrown at them.  That may be true in a face to face debate, but not in this forum setting.  Everything that people post stays.  It can't be deleted (without incurring the ire of Staff).  So everyone can read what is written, reflect on it, and draw their own conclusions about the poster and the poster's arguments.  And this can happen days, months, years from now.  So posting a lot (of lousy) arguments--say, in the heat of anger or by a drive to "win" the debate--is a very, very bad idea since it can tarnish your image forever.

Besides, spending too much time arguing here just takes time away from your writing partners.  And really.  Of the two, who is more important to you?  :-)

-reads commentary, clicks Cycle's O/O-

 ;)

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #124 on: June 19, 2015, 07:29:11 PM »
-reads commentary, clicks Cycle's O/O-

 ;)


Cycle is pretty intelligent, isn't he?