I belong in the women’s restroom. Not because I adhere to any societal standard for femininity, but because I am a woman.
I have no desire to defend Jenner's Cruzophilia or any of her other absurdities. Yet I find myself even now wanting to empathize with this woman who has so often put her foot in it, and to continue embracing her presence in our ranks for the good it's doing us even if that good has a liberal admixture of bad and ugly.
Bisexuals face additional challenges, even when in different-sex relationships. And while I might not fear walking down the street holding hands with a woman, that doesn't mean I have "straight privilege."
The night of my "passing," I realized I'd achieved in six months what some never achieve their entire lives. And in that moment, I recognized that I had a very specific type of privilege; a type that carries with it painful implications.
Dolezal's white-to-black "passing" is the complication of both white guilt and white rage in an era of Affirmative Action.
What prompted me to write was the now swelling chorus that is saying, "well, isn't race just a construct? Why can't we just accept its fiction, its fluidity and celebrate -- let's have a completely laissez-faire attitude toward racial identification." That's when I have to put on the brakes.
The timing of Dolezal's racial transition is extremely important. She benefitted from the inherited privileges of whiteness while growing up and through most of her adult life, then she later exploited light-skinned privilege while identifying as an ethnically mixed person.
The fact that Rachel Dolezal was able to get away with living as a Black woman, albeit precariously, for so long is ironic as well as troubling. Her entire life story is the classic definition of White privilege.
In college, I was turned away from attending a trip to work with youth in Jamaica because I was told I was "too white" to attend. In law school, different black student groups reached out to me to participate in their activities -- until they realized I was "white."
Does a person whose ancestry is not Black have the "right" to exercise the option of living their lives as a "Black" person in America? And to what extent does that choice provide such a person with any advantages or privileges that are not available to other Blacks, who, because of their biology, have no option but to live their lives as Black?