I don’t quite know what it reeks of, but it certainly twists reason and logic to breaking points. I do find these sorts of breakdowns fascinating.
I guess this is because Dolezal and Williams fans, defenders, supporters and critics alike have to engage in all sorts of mental gymnastics in order to honor the basic tenets of traditional gender and race constructs and politics — while at the same time, providing certain selfish allowances that work to their own benefit.
Like Dolezal and Williams, I’ve always lived life on the colorline. What I mean by that is my skin is light enough that it allows me limited entrance to the outer circle of almost any race, yet I am black enough, culturally, to be accepted into the deepest of African-American experiences.
That’s my history, my culture, my heritage, my family. Sadly, it probably will not be my legacy, but that’s a whole other global story.
And so, within that culture, I’ve also noticed, albeit not as acutely, all of the same responses to Dolezal and Jessie Williams as you. (You lost me on the whole Eminem precipice thing though.)
Although, I wouldn’t use quite the same descriptors, I understand your points. I’ve failed to understand though, why people had such a strong and visceral reaction - either one way or the other — to Dolezal’s fraud.
And excuse my ignorance, but, I have not heard the argument that Dolezal’s experiences are some how comparable to the transgender experience. Is that a thing that is being said some where?
But I have a question for you. One that you may be in a unique position to answer knowledgeably as you have given the whole race/gender identity politics some thought.
If gender and race are merely social and political constructs, (and if you are someone who clearly understands them as such), shouldn’t your only issue with Dolezal be that she was dishonest and inauthentic? (And the fact that she embraced African-American culture as her own, probably because she was nurtured by it, in a way that she wasn’t nurtured by her own culture, is something that almost all African- Americans can be okay with? Or no?)
I ask this question because with regard to Dolezal, I observed, within African-American culture, a deep divide along gender lines, as well as color lines. Men seem to be smitten with Dolezal, the darker they are, the more smitten they seem to be. Women seem to be any where from annoyed to enraged, the darker they are, the deeper the anger. What does this say about beliefs of white supremacy? (Also, I do believe that there is something going on with sexuality, but I cannot quite put my fingers on it.)
The above phenomenon had me stumped. For the most part, I had no strong feelings about Dolezal. I had none of the dark and deep righteous anger, that many of my darker girlfriends expressed. Neither did I have this gushing appreciation for her that many dark-skinned male associates expressed.
If you ask me, (and I know you didn’t, but) the Dolezal reaction is just as much about color - as race and gender; and even more interestingly- reactions to her color 180 reverse based on gender and color of the observer.
So then I take my own color, it’s pale enough for everyone. (And what I mean by this, is that in interacting with anyone in the world, I do not have to combat the imperialist notion that lighter is better.) Yes I am a beneficiary of white privilege.” I’m not going to sit here and tell you that white privilege doesn’t exist. I know it does. I’ve experienced it — a lot.)
The flip side, though, is that some Africans tell me that I am not in fact black, and internationals from other races tell me that as well, but none with so much intensity and authority as Africans. This annoys me because this is how I identify myself racially. Yet as things become more racially polarized, I find that I get more pushback from everyone. I’m at a point, where I just want to throw up my hands and say- call me whatever you want. It doesn’t really matter, because I know who I am.
As for African-Americans, we do so have an astounding array of issues all revolving around color (and they certainly take different turns with regard to gender.)
I think it wrong, but more importantly, extraordinarily and intellectually lazy, to judge people based on something as idiotic and ridiculous as the color of their skin. I do not tolerate the belief of someone as “lesser” simply because they are darker. Nor do I tolerate the belief of someone as “better” because they are lighter. Nor do I tolerate the reverse. I basically think you can’t make any accurate judgments about personality or character based on skin color. But unfortunately, I find myself in the minority, with regard to these beliefs. When I complained bitterly to my accupunturists about all of this, he said, quite succinctly, the world isn’t going to change for you, Amber.
Sigh. So many issues of color, among us, and so I wonder, if the backlash against Dolezal, isn’t just an extension of the colorstruckness that plagues the African- American community - and aha. There it is. Maybe you were right all along about the internalized white supremacy. Colorstruckness has everything to do with internalized white supremacy.