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  #21  
Old 12 June 2015, 07:35 PM
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I think it's a big problem that she represented herself as having a certain background, which could be very relevant to her being selected for her position with the local NAACP. I also think there are big issues with faking hate crimes and representing herself as a victim of hate crimes.

On a personal level, there's something offensive about putting on and playing with an adopted oppressed "identity" that one can just walk away from.

ETA: Count me as another who finds the zebra wildly inappropriate.

Last edited by erwins; 12 June 2015 at 07:41 PM.
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  #22  
Old 12 June 2015, 07:51 PM
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Her hometown** newspaper in Coeur D'Alene has quite a write up. I found it very interesting.

**The way it is written, I got a feel that it is her hometown. Regardless, it is where her parents are now. I can't link to that paper right now from work.
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  #23  
Old 12 June 2015, 08:36 PM
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Everything I've read says that her parents are in Montana. Coeur D'Alene is in Idaho, but very close to Spokane, where she lives.

dfresh, biracial people have often been called zebra. It's very derogatory.
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  #24  
Old 12 June 2015, 09:01 PM
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Here is the article. It explains the connection to Idaho, among other things.

Black like me? Civil rights activist's ethnicity questioned
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  #25  
Old 12 June 2015, 09:13 PM
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Having seen some other comments elsewhere, I think I can be more precise about what is offensive about this. There's nothing wrong with a white person being an NAACP leader, and it's happened before. But there is something deeply wrong and offensive for a white person to do so *in blackface* which is what she did. She gave talks on "black hair" and referenced her own hair texture (calling it type 4). It's an ugly ugly thing to do.
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  #26  
Old 12 June 2015, 10:01 PM
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She wasn't mocking African-Americans, though, she was identifying with them. Is that more like blackface, or someone who is a transgender person?

Faking a history of oppression is, I think, wrong in a way most people agree on. It seems almost like Munchausen Syndrome. But would the physical representation aspect of it be morally wrong if she hadn't lied about her past?
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  #27  
Old 12 June 2015, 10:13 PM
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I think some of the best commentary I've seen has been via Twitter. One person tweeted that it was the height of white privilege to choose to be black, because black people didn't have a choice. Another said: ""If we can change race then I choose to be white and I want my white privilege now. #WrongSkin #transracial"
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  #28  
Old 13 June 2015, 04:00 AM
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What I think she's really guilty of more than anything is personifying most of the protagonists in children's films, The Liar Revealed. But we know how that story ends: The truth saves the liar and everyone else and they live happily ever after. Yay.

Unless it's the unhappy ending version, in which the holes use it to mock 400 years of racism and pretend it never existed or somehow magically disappeared once the leaders convinced them that they hated it too, therefore no need for the NAACP, no need for any race identification at all, no need for affirmative action... I hate that version.
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  #29  
Old 13 June 2015, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
She wasn't mocking African-Americans, though, she was identifying with them. Is that more like blackface, or someone who is a transgender person?

Faking a history of oppression is, I think, wrong in a way most people agree on. It seems almost like Munchausen Syndrome. But would the physical representation aspect of it be morally wrong if she hadn't lied about her past?
I don't think it's a valid comparison. This article expresses some of the reasons why. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/0...n_7569160.html

Quote:
Racial divisions may ultimately be a construct, Moore notes, but "skin color is hereditary." And it's skin color that primarily determines racial privilege, and the way others in the world interact with your racial identity.

Transracial identity is a concept that allows white people to indulge in blackness as a commodity, without having to actually engage with every facet of what being black entails -- discrimination, marginalization, oppression, and so on. It plays into racial stereotypes, and perpetuates the false idea that it is possible to "feel" a race. As a white woman, Dolezal retains her privilege; she can take out the box braids and strip off the self-tanner and navigate the world without the stigma tied to actually being black. Her connection to racial oppression is something she has complete control over, a costume she can put on -- and take off -- as she pleases.
She wasn't mocking black people, but she was reducing them to the things she was faking. Spray tan, kinky hair, stories of hate crimes... It may be pathological, like Munchausen's, but that doesn't stop it from being offensive.
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  #30  
Old 13 June 2015, 04:55 AM
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But couldn't someone say the same things about a man who dresses as a woman? He can take off the wig, go to work, and avoid the glass ceiling. He retains his privilege. And do the fake eyelashes and breasts reduce women to what he is faking?

Also, Moore noting that "skin color is hereditary" seems to imply that gender identity isn't something you're born with.

Again, I'm not defending the lies and false accusations in any way. But if this was a biological man dressing as a woman who had created a false past of sexual harassment to fit in with other women, would we be more compassionate? Remember that Dolezal has been living as a black woman at least since 2007. It doesn't seem like a whim.
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  #31  
Old 13 June 2015, 05:10 AM
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Trans* people are generally moving toward being more genuinely who they are. Dolezal spun more and more lies about being something she is not. There's nothing in what I've seen that says she identified as black all of her life. Rather, it seems quite opportunistic in the timing.

There have been high profile trans women feminists. They were open about what perspective they brought to the table. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfeminism

ETA: I don't think the quote implies that at all. I think the point is that one isn't born with a racial identity, but one is born with some of the characteristics that lead to the formation of racial identity, which is shaped by how one is perceived and treated by others. I don't think the quote is about gender identity.

Last edited by erwins; 13 June 2015 at 05:23 AM.
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  #32  
Old 13 June 2015, 05:15 AM
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I think it comes down to gender identity disorder being a recognized condition while race identity disorder isn't.

And on a side note, I've got Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) stuck in my head.
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  #33  
Old 13 June 2015, 03:26 PM
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Transracial isn't recognized, I know, but I guess I'm open to the idea that it exists. Her lies have discredited her, but at the same time, if she does have a genuine racial identity issue they could make sense.

She could be nothing but a con artist, or someone suffering from a need for attention to a degree that it makes them ill, but if psychology were my field, I'd look into the possibility that there is more going on there. We see surgeries and procedures done to make minorities look more white and assume it's always an attempt to evade bigotry. But what if some people feel closer to other cultures than their own?

Pretending isn't a healthy way to handling it, but what if it's driven by a genuine identity crisis, or a psychological need to fit in with people of a different race? Then it would be less about insult and more about desperation.
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  #34  
Old 13 June 2015, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
Transracial isn't recognized, I know, but I guess I'm open to the idea that it exists. Her lies have discredited her, but at the same time, if she does have a genuine racial identity issue they could make sense.
I think Ijeoma Olou on twitter makes a great argument for why there's no such thing as transracial identities: https://storify.com/IjeomaOluo/rache...-appropriation

Essentially, she argues that race is merely a social construct based on skin color. What makes it real is the history of oppression that comes with it. If a person does not have that history, they simply cannot find a way to manufacture it.

A person without that history can be a supporter and ally of those who do have that history. That person can stand with those who have that history, but they cannot speak for them.
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  #35  
Old 13 June 2015, 05:54 PM
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I like that argument.
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  #36  
Old 13 June 2015, 06:44 PM
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I don't know that a transgender person can speak for a gender he or she wasn't raised in, either. Much of someone's gender experience is a social construct, and a transgender woman raised male doesn't grow up with typical American misogyny directed at her. She cannot speak about the same kind if sexual harassment that biological women in the U.S. commonly experience any more than I can speak about what it's like to grow up female in Saudi Arabia.

But we're still talking about what Dolezal did with her life, the platform she claimed, and the lies she told, rather than her personal feelings of identity.
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  #37  
Old 13 June 2015, 07:08 PM
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The difference is that if you raised someone in total isolation from the opposite gender, they'd still be transgender even if they didn't know what the other gender was. A person who's raised in total isolation from other races isn't going to have that feeling.
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  #38  
Old 13 June 2015, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
I don't know that a transgender person can speak for a gender he or she wasn't raised in, either. Much of someone's gender experience is a social construct, and a transgender woman raised male doesn't grow up with typical American misogyny directed at her. She cannot speak about the same kind if sexual harassment that biological women in the U.S. commonly experience any more than I can speak about what it's like to grow up female in Saudi Arabia.
Once a transgender person begins to transition, they inherit the barriers and privileges of the gender to which they transition, though. And, on top of that, they also gain the (hopefully changing, but still significant) stigma of also being transgender.

If transracial identities are real (and I sincerely don't believe they are), a Black person who identifies as White cannot transition to being White and then be awarded of all of the privileges of Whiteness. Contrarily, a White person cannot transition to Black and have that history of oppression that is inextricably linked to being Black.
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  #39  
Old 13 June 2015, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellestar View Post
Once a transgender person begins to transition, they inherit the barriers and privileges of the gender to which they transition, though. And, on top of that, they also gain the (hopefully changing, but still significant) stigma of also being transgender.
During the years Dolezal lived representing herself as a black woman, she took on the barriers of the race to which she had transitioned. Everyone saw her as black, blacks, whites, and bigots alike. Now she is taking on the significant stigma of being caught in her pretense.
Quote:
If transracial identities are real (and I sincerely don't believe they are), a Black person who identifies as White cannot transition to being White and then be awarded of all of the privileges of Whiteness.
Isn't that a technology issue? Until recent hormone therapy and plastic surgery techniques, a transgender person often stuck out in a crowd. A masculine looking biological man dressed as a woman was unlikely to be allowed to teach in a school for girls, become a midwife, or marry the man she loved.

We may well reach the point where we can cosmetically transition from black to white.
Quote:
Contrarily, a White person cannot transition to Black and have that history of oppression that is inextricably linked to being Black.
As I pointed out above, a male who has transitioned cannot take on the history of sexual oppression that is inextricably linked to being female, nor can a biological woman take on the history of privilege that is inextricably linked to being male.
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  #40  
Old 13 June 2015, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellestar View Post
That person can stand with those who have that history, but they cannot speak for them.
She makes some very solid points but it's worth remembering that no one actually speaks for others unless those others accept that proxy. Whether or not a person accepts words as representative of their own sentiment is entirely up to the individuals. Just being part of a shared history doesn't give every person of a minority authority to speak on behalf of the others and the converse also does not hold. Simply never having been a member of the minority doesn't mean a person can't speak for members of that minority who choose to accept that person as a voice. It just means don't presume, IMO.
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