By Jonathon Maren
Many of you will remember the story of Rachel Dolezal, a college professor and president of her local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who was outed as being a white woman. Despite a general outcry, Dolezal didn’t back down once she was caught, insisting that despite having no non-European ancestry, she self-identifies as black. If a biological man can identify as a woman, after all, why can’t a white woman identify as a black woman after shading her skin a few tones darker?
After the general mockery came the think pieces discussing whether “transracialism” was a valid concept. Many major newspapers covered the idea (with pushback from Black activists.) Many pointed out that the similarity of transracialism to transgenderism was inescapable. If a man could identify as a woman simply because he claimed he felt like a woman and experienced life as a woman (despite the fact that, as a man, he could not possibly know what a woman feels like or how she experiences life), why could the same not apply to people of different races?