We noted here a few weeks ago the ruckus over the Rhodes College feminist philosopher Rebecca Tuvel, who foolishly thought that the same logic that applied to gender identity (namely that you pick your own) should apply equally to racial identity. Why not? We’re sometimes told from the identity politics left that race is a social construct, too, except when we’re told it isn’t. Left unexplored was exactly why Tuvel’s exercise in consequent logic transgressed the trangressors.
A hint can be found in a news story today about Rachel Dolezal, still out claiming to be black. Dolezal was scheduled to be a featured speaker at the Baltimore Book Festival, until protests forced her withdrawal—protests from blacks in Baltimore, most of whom, one may safely assume, haven’t had the benefit of being enlightened by taking a course in racial theory at the University of Maryland. Instead, you get common sense reactions like this:
“She has completely STOLEN the culture, experiences, and physical attributes of people who cannot stand her…and who also make up a large population in Baltimore!”
I think the backlash to accepting transracialism among the sacred categories of the left is simpler: if “race” is an arbitrary concept, it will sooner or later start to undermine the basis for affirmative action. After all, if we’re free to identify our race as a matter of will, what’s to stop Asians from applying to Harvard and Princeton under a new name, and checking “black” on the application form? And after their admission rates soar at Ivy League schools, how dare anyone question their racial self-identity! No one on the left will admit it, but once you legitimize racial self-identification, the whole race hustling racket will start to fall apart.
And as a special bonus, just where will this leave Elizabeth Warren?