The Strange Case Of Rachel Dolezal

The head of the Spokane NAACP has apparently been lying about her racial background, and that's led to a whole other argument.

Rachel Dolezal

An NAACP leader in Spokane is under fire today after her parents came forward to say that she has been misrepresenting her past to claim that she is of African-American heritage:

The parents of a civil rights activist in Spokane, Wash., say their daughter has misrepresented herself as black for years, spurring a growing discussion on social media about race and identity.

Rachel Dolezal, 37, the president of theN.A.A.C.P. chapter in Spokane and a part-time professor in the Africana Studies program at Eastern Washington University, has listed on at least one application that she is black, as well as white and Native American.

Members of civil rights organizations in the Spokane area say Ms. Dolezal has claimed that she is part African-American. Claims that she received hate mail in late February and March generated much local media coverage and more than a little skepticism.

But Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal told a local television station Thursday that their daughter is Caucasian and had changed her appearance over time to look black. “She chose to represent herself as an African-American woman or a biracial person, and that’s simply not true,” Ruthanne Dolezal said.

Ms. Dolezal deflected questions Thursday about her race.

“I feel like I owe my executive committee a conversation” before publicly discussing the “multilayered” issue, she told The Spokesman-Review in Spokane.

“That question is not as easy as it seems,” she said.

The Spokesman-Review has credited Mrs. Dolezal with re-energizing the Spokane chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. since being elected in 2014.

The City of Spokane is investigating whether Ms. Dolezal lied when she identified herself as African-American on an application to serve in a volunteer position on the citizen police ombudsman commission,according to KXLY, a local ABC-TV station. Ms. Dolezal, who in several instances has claimed to be a victim of racial harassment, ended an interview with the TV station when pressed on her background.

Ms. Dolezal’s father told BuzzFeed that she had cut off communication from her parents.

“She’s our birth daughter and we’re both of European descent,” he said.

The Dolezals provided what they said was their daughter’s birth certificate to The Washington Post.

The news spread beyond Washington State Thursday night and attracted a voluminous response on social media, with an outcry surfacing on Twitter in particular.

Ms. Dolezal, who appears to have deleted posts from her Facebook page, maintains an active presence online, including a website displaying herartwork. In February, she told a reporter with the Eastern Washington University newspaper that her pieces, many with civil rights themes, sold for thousands of dollars.

The Buzzfeed News report on this story does a fairly good job of rounding up all the various reports and the claims that Ms. Dolezal has made about her heritage and background over the years. For example, she has apparently passed off an African American man as her father at various public events around Spokane in the recent years, despite the fact that her parents are quite obviously very white and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest that she isn’t their natural born child. Additionally, she has claimed  that an African American teenager is her son when he is, according to her parents, actually her younger brother who came to live with her several years ago to finish High School. She has also claimed to have lived in South Africa, which is apparently not true at all, and to have at one point grown up living in a teepee and learning to shoot bows and arrows, although it’s unclear why she would make that claim at all. Finally, and probably more importantly, she has claimed both in her position with the NAACP, in her position on various boards for the City of Spokane, and in her position as a professor of African Studies at Eastern Washington University that she is African American. If her parents are telling the truth, none of this is true and this woman is little more than a fraud.

Here’s a video of an interview with a local television station in which Dolezal was, to say the very least, evasive in answering questions about the claims she has made in the past:

As the Times article linked above notes, this story has drawn a lot of attention on social media and cable news since it became public late yesterday. So far, there’s been no public statement from Dolezal or the local NAACP regarding the matter, and it is at least worth noting that there are two sides to this story and that there does seem to be something of a strained relationship between Dolezal and her parents. Do her parents have some ulterior motive in making these statements in public? I don’t know, and I suppose we will find that out. However unless they are just plain out lying it’s pretty clear that Rachel Dolezal has misrepresented her race on many occasions over the past several years, including possibly in an effort to secure employment, appointment to government boards, and other benefits. That is plain old fraud right there and if she’s guilty of it then she deserves to be exposed and the people she has deceived deserve to know the truth and to judge her accordingly

As is usually the case with stories like this, many people in the social media and punditry world seem to have latched onto this story to make some other political point. Specifically, there are conservatives making the argument that if Caitlyn Jenner can choose her gender then why can’t Rachel Dolezal choose her race? You can find one example of that argument in this blog post, and another example here.  These aren’t serious arguments, of course, but rather yet another attempt by social conservatives to demean transgender people, a phenomenon that has been quite prevalent on that side of the political spectrum over the past two weeks. Even taking the arguments at face value, though, they don’t add up. As I’ve said before, I don’t pretend to understand what transgenderism is or what the people who fall into that category are going to, but it seems fairly clear that it is a real phenomenon and not just a choice that someone makes. The best example of this can be found in brain scans, which show that the brains of transgender males or females seem to be closer to the brain of the gender they identify with rather than the one they were born with. This has been documented in studies that go as far back as 1995, as well as more recent studies in 2011, and again in 2013. There have been no documented differences in brain scans between people of different races. Therefore, the analogy that these people are seeking to make has no merit whatsoever.

Rachel Dolezal didn’t “choose her race,” she committed fraud by lying about her background. She can choose to adopt whatever culture she wishes, but that’s not what happened here. She lied about her background, not just to the public but apparently also on job applications. That’s fraud. The people who are trying to use this case to draw analogies to, or mostly just to make stupid, snarly comments about, the issues raised last week by the Caitlyn Jenner story, are just being obnoxious jerks.

Photo via KREM-TV reporter Taylor Viydo on Twitter

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Race and Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I mean, race is a social construct, right? And the Census counts purely based on self-identification. And there’s probably a black or biracial person somewhere in her family tree.

    Still, you’re ultimately right that this is fraud. While “race” may be a loose construct (i.e., Halle Barry and Barack Obama as ‘black” vice ‘biracial”) passing off another man as her father is as dishonest as it is disrespectful. And claiming trips one never took, while hardly a colossal issue, is clearly a lie.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I have no problem with people choosing their race. Race is a useless distraction. The differences between white and black or black and asian are so minuscule as to be absurd. Skin tone, eye shape, hair, who cares?

    My own subset is determined not by any rational criteria, but because my enemies have named me. I’m not remotely religious and I don’t give a damn about Jewish culture per se, but I’m a Jew because every anti-semite in the world insists I am.

    The sooner we outgrow this lunacy the better. If the race obsession can be slyly subverted by people defying the usual categories, fine by me, godspeed.

  3. RockThisTown says:

    Are we allowed to ask to see her birth certificate, or would that be considered racist?

  4. C. Clavin says:

    I like to think I don’t care about a person’s race…but if she has been lying about it one way or the other…it’s unacceptable. Period. Lying cannot be countenanced.

  5. @James Joyner:

    Yea, race is largely a social construct. But if you’re background is exclusively European and you’re claiming to be African-American there’s at the very least something quite odd about you.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    It can be countenanced if it’s a conscious rejection of false values. Can a Jew in 1942 Germany lie about race? Sure, obviously. How about a Tutsi in Rwanda 1994? Or for that matter, a white-looking black person in Jim Crow America?

    Granted, that’s almost certainly not what happened here.

  7. Scott says:

    I suppose fraud may be the right legal term, i.e., impersonating someone or something else for gain. Even if the fraud is counteracted by the job being accomplished. But I’m curious about is what is the level of self-delusion going on here. I don’t discount the possibility of some kind of mental disorder. It is strange, as the headline said.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    I wonder if anyone has checked out her claim to be a Howard University graduate in her online biography. cite

    She broke the first rule of being a grifter: do not cause people to look to closely.

  9. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Granted, that’s almost certainly not what happened here.

    Indeed. The interesting questions about how race is constructed socially and under what circumstances it is ‘legitimate’ to avow a given race are orthogonal to the facts of this particular case, which would appear to involve a pathological liar who lies about many many things, including parentage and ethnic background.

  10. David M says:

    Why can’t Spokane ever make the national news for normal reasons?

  11. stonetools says:

    The case is weird. Oddly, she was credited with doing good work for the Spokane NAACP. There was no reason to claim blackness in order to work for the NAACP, and sadly, whatever good she has done is going to be submerged in the tsunami of recrimination and rancor about her lies about her race.
    Heh, when asked about her race once , she replied, ““We’re all from the African continent.” Yet another endorsement of the replacement hypothesis, although I’m not sure this endorsement was wanted or needed.

    So conservatives are twisting logic like a pretzel to connect this with transgenderism somehow, eh? Oh well, I’m disgusted but not surprised.

  12. DrDaveT says:

    @David M:

    Why can’t Spokane ever make the national news for normal reasons?

    You mean things like riots, escaped murderers, mass shootings by teenagers, and indicted politicians? Why would you want that?

    Making the national news is almost never a good thing, and never an important good thing.

  13. Specifically, there are conservatives making the argument that if Caitlyn Jenner can choose her gender then why can’t Rachel Dolezal choose her race? You can find one example of that argument in this blog post, and another example here. These aren’t serious arguments, of course, but rather yet another attempt by social conservatives to demean transgender people, a phenomenon that has been quite prevalent on that side of the political spectrum over the past two weeks.

    While realizing that social conservatives aren’t bringing it up out of philosophical interest, there is an interesting philosophical question here. While most people intuitively consider these two cases to be unlike, is that intuition correct, and if so, what is the basis for that intuition?

  14. David M says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I don’t really care if she wants to claim to be black in her personal life, but it might be a problem when she’s doing it at the NAACP, EWU and other organizations, as I don’t believe they had any idea. If she disclosed it to them, then there probably wouldn’t be a problem.

  15. @David M:

    Since when are people required to reveal their race, gender, marriage status, sexuality, nationality, religion, etc. to their employers to begin with?

  16. David M says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I agree it’s not required, but this is more of a “don’t cause problems for the people you’re working for or with” type of an issue.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Actually, a lot of light-skinned “blacks” (identified according to the one-drop rule) have managed to shift across the color line, so there is a bit of “your race is what you chose it to be”, providing that you have a skin color that makes an identification of yourself as “white” plausible. In fact, the historical terror of the “tar-brush” and the classification of people as “mulatto”, “quadroon”, “octoroon” shows how nervous the (white) ruling classes have always been about one of “them” sneaking in under false pretenses. (Yah, it’s definitely a purity thing.)

    What’s just freaking everyone out here is that this woman is seemingly trying to go the other way. Are people worrying more about the fact that a “white” would want to be taken as “black”, or the fact that she doesn’t seem to have a “drop of black blood” to “justify” this? If it turned out that she had a black great-great-grandmother, would we feel more accepting of her claims of being “black”?

    I’m wondering–if she were continually taking melanin tablets to make herself with darker skin as “black”, would we be more accepting or think that she’s being even weirder? (Which is bizarre, because melanin tablets being used instead of tanning have been popular among a certain teenage subset for years.)

    Is a puzzlement!

  18. Jack says:

    Typical liberal that doesn’t want facts to get in the way of their agenda. Liberals are permitted, even encouraged to lie as long as it pushes and approved leftist agenda and facts be damned.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    See, that goes to the heart of it. It’s the fact that a member of the “superior”group is unaccountably trying to pass as a member of the “inferior” group. There are a lot of black people who are only slightly more black than I am who are nevertheless labeled black. And as you say, there are white-looking “black” people passing as white, or perhaps believing themselves to be white.

    These things all exist on a spectrum, and along that spectrum people draw arbitrary lines. Those lines are more often than not drawn by white supremacists and Nazis in ways meant to exclude rather than include. There is no science behind any of this, it’s just bigotry.

    Homo sapiens, like compact cars, come in a variety of colors and option packages. My wife has a tendency to think anything not obviously white, yellow, black or red is green. Brown is green, blue is green, it’s all green. Which has absolutely no effect on the blue car and makes it run no differently.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Examples?

    Because my counter-examples include, “Iraq has nukes!” and “These tax cuts will pay for themselves!” and “No, we aren’t trying to keep black people from voting!” and “Death panels!” and “He’s Kenyan!” and every third word spoken on Fox News.

  21. JKB says:

    I remember a side story of a kid who emigrated from Africa, became a citizen got all manner of abuse from his school when he checked the African-American box on some school form. He never claimed to be Black, just an African-American.

    But can it be fraud if she genetically tests to have African blood traces? Are we to institute a percentage law before someone identifies as a race?

    But clearly this woman has issues beyond racial identity with the tales of being born in a tee pee and the presentation of a younger African-American brother as her son. And what’s the deal with the younger brother?

  22. Gwen Dallas says:

    This is a quintessentially American story. It’s a very weird story. America is a very, very weird country (particularly when it comes to race).

  23. Pinky says:

    She might be the darkest-skinned person in all of Spokane.

  24. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I came under sniper fire – Hillary Clinton.
    I threw my medals over the White House wall – John Kerry.
    If you like your plan…and doctor, you can keep it – Barak Obama.
    I’m sane – Joe Biden.
    I’m not a racist – Robert Byrd (Democrat and former member of the KKK)
    I did not have sex with that woman, Mrs. Lewinski – Bill Clinton
    Unlike Bush, I will not have any lobbyists working in my administration – Obama.
    ISIS is a JV Team – Obama
    “My position hasn’t changed” on using executive authority to address immigration issues – Barack Obama
    Fast and Furious” began under the Bush administration-Barack Obama
    Chelsea was jogging around the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 – Hillary
    The Rose Law Firm billing records showed up on their own – Hillary
    I remember Christmas of 1968, sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia – Kerry

    I could list more, but there is simply not the Domegemegrottebyte of space needed on the interwebs to absorb the lies told by liberals.

  25. aFloridian says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It seems others here have already been hitting on the points I’ve been preaching for some time. In the world we live in today, our own self-identity becomes evermore persuasive. I also draw the comparison to Caitlyn Jenner. I do not see it as facetious in any way, nor is it a conservative line to demean transgender people.

    Transgender is literally choosing one’s gender. So the argument is they are born that way and it’s a condition. Fact is, we don’t know what’s in people’s hearts, and for every person with a bona fide disorder there might be another who simply chooses to dress/convert/act like the other gender because they feel closer or partial to it.

    As others have pointed out – race is a social construct. There are some basic genetic distinctions to be made between peoples, but hardly on the simple black/white/yellow/red divisions that superficial skin-based race detection uses. I don’t see why I cannot choose tomorrow the check the black box on an application and, if I do that consistently and hold myself out that why, why I shouldn’t be considered black. As with transgender people, who is the final arbiter? Certainly not public opinion? If I dress up as a woman and used a ladies bathroom, who decides if I am sincere or an impostor? Do I even have to dress up as a woman? Can’t I just feel that way? Obviously consistency is a factor here, you ought not be able to go back and forth, but we are becoming very fluid with accepting changed identities.

    Again, race is no different. Who decides? The white majority or the black minority, both of whom still think in racist “one-drop” terms. How dark do you need to be? Redbone? High Yellow? Biracial? Quadroon? Octaroon? These are all terms for various shades of HUMAN skin. Similarly, if a “black” person chooses to pass as “white” and identifies himself in that way, should he not be considered white?

    Or are we going to pretend it’s a scientific thing. Something like a certain number or recency of ancestors from a given continent. Again, not as simple as it seems. No race of people is “pure.” The migration of peoples in pre-history and ancient history demonstrates that Europeans crossed into Africa, Africans into the Middle East, and Middle Easterners into India. And what about South Africans or Black British? So geography doesn’t determine it.

    The end result is that if we really want to pretend it’s skin deep, we are likely imposing a white supremacist position where there is WHITE (pure, ideal, clean) and various shades of impurity depending on what dark one’s skin is. We are letting society determine if a high yellow (commonly used by Black Americans, meaning Americans who tend to have dark skin and a shared culture as African Americans) is dark enough to be “black” or too dark to be “white,”

    And even when it comes to a simple statement like “my parents are both white” – this doesn’t establish how one identifies. Every generation literally recedes back up into one’s family tree exponentially. Which is any of us whose ancestors have been in this country long enough likely have the blood of a dozen different nationalities, a dozen different languages, and maybe even skin tones. Slave and slaveholder ultimately blending somewhat to create people today who see each other as mutually exclusive based on something as simple as skin tone, which, three generations on, can leave virtually no evidence that there was ever anyone with a different skin tone in the tree.

    History is too complex, identity is too complex, for outside forces to determine what race one is – especially now that we are recognizing a right to determine one’s gender identity. This is a logical next step. Frankly, it’s easier for me to understand than the gender thing, which has physical differences between male and female. We are literally all human beings and much more alike than different. As long as one is consistent and acting in what a reasonable person standard would determine is good faith, then I think we have to respect that designation. The issue with this lady really seems to be the other claims she’s made, which suggest dishonesty.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @aFloridian: Bravo!

    And we haven’t even touched upon how previous ethnic groups have crossed the line from being considered “other” to being “white.” Witness the history of how Italians, Greeks, and the Irish were treated in this country.

    The rule still seems to be (outsider) x (white) ==> (outsider).

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    I’m a bit busy at the moment, so I’ll just take an easy one and let others pick their favorites.

    The Chelsea Clinton WTC remark came from. . .? Who again? Was it Hillary? No. Bill? No. Dick Morris.

    Dick Morris who had left the Clinton’s employ six years earlier and had become a Fox News consultant and right-wing talking head. Here’s Media Matters:

    In a March 25 column published on Newsmax.com and FrontPageMag.com, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Dick Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann, wrote of Sen. Hillary Clinton: “Interviewed on the ‘Today’ show one week after 9/11, she spun an elaborate yarn. The kindest thing we could say was that it was a fantasy. Or a fabrication.” Morris and McGann then falsely asserted that Hillary Clinton “said that Chelsea [Clinton] was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9/11 and happened to duck into a coffee shop when the airplanes hit. She said that this move saved Chelsea’s life.” In fact, on the September 18, 2001, edition of NBC’s Today, Clinton said that her daughter had “gone, what she thought would be just a great jog. She was going to go down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee and — and that’s when the plane hit.”

    The facts:

    “When the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, I was 12 blocks away, (and) nothing has been the same since,” Clinton wrote in the December/January issue of Talk magazine, on sale Friday in New York.

    […]

    Clinton had been staying with her high school friend Nicole Davison in her apartment near Union Square for a few days in September before she went to England to study at Oxford. After they had coffee together, Davison went to work and Clinton returned to the apartment.

    Davison called Clinton with the news of the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. Clinton turned on the television and watched the second plane crash into the second WTC tower, and tried to reach her mother in Washington, but after speaking to her assistant, the phone line went dead.

    […]

    Panicked, Chelsea Clinton left the apartment and found herself running toward downtown “in the direction everyone else was coming from,” in search of a public telephone. She was desperate to call her mother and her father, who was on a speaking tour in Australia.

    Chelsea Clinton was downtown in line at a pay phone when she heard the rumble of the second tower collapsing. Later she found Davison and another friend, and the three spent the day walking uptown. Chelsea Clinton wrote that she had an “irrational medley of thoughts” running through her head.

    So that would actually be a Republican lie. Now repeated by you.

    Thanks for contributing.

  28. David M says:

    @Jack:

    None of your examples were nearly as dishonest as the list from Michael, and most weren’t even related to anything remotely important. And some weren’t even untrue, which is a testament to the power of conservative misinformation.

  29. Andre Kenji says:

    Race is not how you define yourself, it´s how other people define you. My grandparents from my maternal side are Japanese, I don´t like to define myself as “Asian” or something like that, but in the end that´s exactly what I am to most people.

  30. Theory about the difference between “transgenderism” and “transracism”:

    We rightly discern there’s a difference between Caitlyn Jenner, a person who was born with a female mind by a male body and who transitioned so that there body reflected their mind and, say, someone like Dame Edna Everage, who is a man pretending to be a woman. To call the latter a “real” woman would be a insult to actual woman. So how do we tell which case a particular person falls into?

    Given the extensive lengths someone like Caitlyn Jenner has gone to (hormone therapy, surgery, etc.) we can point to those as objective signifiers of sincerity, and thus are willing to accept that she “really means it”.

    Race, on the other hand, is so ephemeral that there aren’t really equivalent objective signifiers of sincerity. So we’re not really able to judge whether Rachel Dolezal is sincere or just pulling a scam.

  31. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    So tell me which one of these lies cost 4,000 American lives and got us entangled in an unjust war?
    Consequences of lies should matter in this aseessment of dishonesty. But really, you’re fighting a war you can’t win.

    Fox News repeats more lies than are on your list, every day of week, every week of the year. And we haven’t even looked at the sewer of dishonesty that is right wing talk radio….

    BTW, help me out here. Which liberal commenter here condoned Ms. Dolezal’s lies? Please link. I’ll wait.

  32. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Race is a useless distraction. The differences between white and black or black and asian are so minuscule as to be absurd. Skin tone, eye shape, hair, who cares?

    I always liked what P.J. O’Rourke said: “There’s no such thing as a race and barely such a thing as an ethnic group. If we were dogs, we’d be the same breed. George Bush and an Australian Aborigine have fewer differences than a Lhasa apso and a toy fox terrier. A Japanese raised in Riyadh would be an Arab. A Zulu raised in New Rochelle would be an orthodontist. People are all the same, though their circumstances differ terribly.”

  33. Hurling Dervish says:

    @michael reynolds: I think you can draw one of two things from her motive. Either she sees being African-American as an advantage, socially, professionally or personally. Or else she sees being African-American as an opportunity to play victim, like the Rilling Stone “rape” woman, or the 911 liar or others like that. Either way, it’s an interesting reflection of the perception of race in our society.

  34. superdestroyer says:

    @superdestroyer:

    She actually did graduate with an MFA from Howard in 2002 cite

    Of course, she had blonde hair at the time and was married to a med student.

  35. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Oh, I’m certain she is pulling a scam. It may be a well-intentioned scam, but still a scam.
    BTW, while I’m pleased that a member of the “superior” race wants to identify as black, there was really no need for it, which is why I’m mystified as to why she did it. I think we have just a very troubled individual, who should be treated with kindness and understanding-but certainly won’t be, by members of both races. Sad, really.

  36. MikeSJ says:

    It’s an interesting question as to when we consider race identification legitimate. She may have an African ancestor and be 1/100 African. If she did would her claims be OK then?

    Lacking that 1/100th exposure then makes her a liar?

    The man she presented as her father could be someone she actually considers her father instead of the bio dad. Her brother could be someone she helped raise and is young enough that she truly considers him her “son”. Who knows what her family situation is like.

    Unless she actually lied on her resume I’m not seeing grounds for firing from any positions.

  37. aFloridian says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I think you are trying to impose too strict a criteria for what constitutes a genuine transgender experience. So, for example, the woman who dresses as a man only at home in secret and never would think of undergoing surgery or hormone therapy, are we going to declare that they are less entitled to their identity?

    The thing is, I think we’ve opened the box here when it comes to self-defining identity. And that’s also why don’t really understand the distinction made by Kenji and yourself. Race is ephemeral, sure, but aren’t we establishing a consensus as a society that gender is also far more ephemeral than having man parts or wearing bras? I think where we’re at is that we have to except people for what they say they are, provided we see no sign of bad faith or inconsistency for convenience. I think it creates some mad outcomes, but that’s the only logical course in a world where a man can transition into a woman and a woman into a man.

  38. Tyrell says:

    @michael reynolds: I also feel that race should not be a factor, and should not even come up: job and college applications, military, special observances (“Black History Week”) that seem to trivialize accomplishments. Let’s just have one race: the human race.

  39. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m a Jew because every anti-semite in the world insists I am.

    Back in the ’90s I used to read a columnist named Gregory Kane who wrote for my local paper, the Baltimore Sun. He was an African American conservative, and for the most part a certifiable wingnut. But every once in a while he would depart from his usual rants and say something truly insightful. Around the time Tiger Woods was telling the press he wasn’t black but “Cablinasian” (an acronym he coined to highlight the several races in his family history), Kane declared that Woods should be given “the cab test”: “Stand him on a street corner in any large American city and have him hail a cab. If he gets one, he’s Cablinasian. If he doesn’t, he’s definitely black.”

    With regard to Jews, a few weeks ago we were discussing the case of Barry Goldwater, whose father was Jewish, but who was a lifelong practicing Christian. While he did ultimately receive support from some anti-Semites (including Gerald L.K. Smith and several Klan leaders), he was also the target of an anti-Semitic smear campaign. Personally, I think a lot had to do with the simple fact that his name happened to be Goldwater, and not, say, Reynolds. It really is that superficial.

  40. DrDaveT says:

    @stonetools:

    Yet another endorsement of the replacement hypothesis

    It doesn’t have to be. Nobody (credible) seriously believes that hominids evolved anywhere but Africa. Even if you reject the replacement hypothesis — and I certainly don’t — we’re all Africans if you go back far enough.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon: @aFloridian:

    I think we’re seeing something that, oddly enough, is perhaps a feature of a digital world. It’s the age of the individual, the age of the unit rather than the group, the specific rather than the general. People have grown used to defining themselves with very few limits effectively imposed by society. Individual freedom is very granular now.

    For example, look at naming conventions. You can take your father’s name, your mother’s name, or none of the above. You can use your husband’s name or your wife’s or choose a third. You have the freedom to call yourself by a single name, like Beyoncé, or for that matter you can go by “Stormy Dragon” and carry on a conversation with someone calling himself “aFloridian.” At the same time you can be one person on Reddit, another one on Facebook, a third on Twitter, a fourth on Tinder, a fifth at work.

    There are effectively no more controls on how you wear your hair or how you dress. I can’t recall the last restaurant that required a jacket let alone a tie. I shave my head, my daughter dyes her hair green, and of course my wife maintains the same blond color she’s always had (and always will have.)

    Hundreds of defining barriers are falling all at once. Space and time as subjectively experienced are being radically transformed – the rising generations will never, ever experience the feeling of being lost. All they have to do is check Google maps. They will never be out of contact with basically everyone they’ve ever met and a lot of people they’ve never met. They will never be at a loss for a fact (although we have some commenters here who don’t take full advantage of that.)

    Religious affiliation is more fluid, loyalty to state or town is increasingly quaint. The notion that you will have a single job, a single career that will define you is coming apart at the seams.

    In this world, categories that seemed fixed and immutable are more readily seen as alterable, as matters of individual choice. The old hard categories of white and black, male and female, are subverted by our growing belief that we have a right to choose our own definition.

    Personally? I like it. I’m not going to become a woman, but I like that Jenner can.

  42. george says:

    @Kylopod:

    “Stand him on a street corner in any large American city and have him hail a cab. If he gets one, he’s Cablinasian. If he doesn’t, he’s definitely black.”

    No easier getting a cab if you’re a North American Indian (trust me on this). And getting pulled over for “driving while red” is as common percentage wise as for “driving while black”.

    So your test doesn’t distinguish between two of his parentage’s: black and red.

  43. Sane says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Because my counter-examples include, “Iraq has nukes!” and “These tax cuts will pay for themselves!” and “No, we aren’t trying to keep black people from voting!” and “Death panels!” and “He’s Kenyan!” and every third word spoken on Fox News.

    Iraq has nukes was believed and spouted by members of both parties including by the woman who is going to by the Democratic nominee for president, and by both George W Bush and Bill Clinton.

    How many people claim Obama’s Kenyan?

    On the other hand, how many claim Bush stole an election or two? How many claim Bush went into Iraq for revenge or so that Cheney could swim in a lake of oil? How many claimed Palin was responsible for the Arizona shooting, that Republicans killed Paul Wellstone, that GW Bush was in bed with Taliban over an oil pipeline, that Bush refused to kill Bin-Laden so he could eventually go to war? You’ve got Koch brothers conspiracies and right-wing conspiracies to explain away Clinton’s behavior.

    For every falsehood and nutty thing said by the Right one could easily find a match by the Left.

  44. jummy says:

    In fact, fMRI scans do not “prove” transgenderism. The structures observed develop after puberty under the influence of sex hormones. The studies you cite only show that the transgender subjects have taken hormones.

  45. jummy says:

    Then shame on progressives – the “Reality-Based Community” – for celebrating this deeply irrational nonsense and allowing the rightwing to appear as if they’re the sane ones.

  46. bill says:

    the simplest fix is to just remove the “race box” on gov’t. applications-all for that matter. not so much in this case as the naacp is not a gov’t. agency. now if they wouldn’t hire her if she was “white” would that be discrimination?

  47. michael reynolds says:

    @Sane:

    The Iraq has nukes nonsense had a source: the Bush administration. You can fault people for buying the lie, but it’s the liar who remains the culpable one.

  48. Sane says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Sorry Michael. You must have one poor memory. The previous administration said exactly the same thing and Clinton himself said so in 2003. You may have missed all the Clinton administration bombings of Iraq and the major military buildup in the gulf in 1998.

    “The man needs to get rid of his chemical and biological weapons stocks,” Clinton said on February 6, 2003 as President Bush contemplated attacking Iraq.

    Clinton listed a number of weapons that Saddam might have including anthrax, volunteering, “They may even have a little smallpox.” Clinton said that he was “pretty sure” that Saddam had the chemical agents VX and ricin.

    “Sure,” Clinton said when King asked him point blank if he ever saw information as president that led him to believe that Saddam was making weapons.

    “People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons.”

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/05/31/bill-clinton-in-2003-were-pretty-sure-saddam-has-wmds/

  49. Sane says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Also,

    CLINTON: And, you know, there’s still a chance that Saddam Hussein will come to his senses and disarm.

    KING: Does it look inevitable to you? I mean…

    CLINTON: It’s not inevitable. It still would be much better if this could be done without violence. But the man needs to get rid of his chemical and biological weapon stocks and…

    CLINTON: but it’s pretty clear there are still some things, substantial amounts of chemical and biological stocks unaccounted for.

    KING: When you say up to the U.N. — if — would you demand another thing other than 1441 from the U.N. if you were sitting in still back in that chair?

    CLINTON: Well, as a matter of international law, I don’t think it’s required. But what we’re trying to do here is two things. We’re trying to get rid of the chemical and biological storehouse in the hands of a tyrant because he might someday use them or give them away, and more importantly because international law, through the U.N. resolution, says he shouldn’t have them.

    http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0302/06/lkl.00.html

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Sane:

    You’ve just said I was wrong about nukes and then cited evidence pertaining entirely to CBW. CBW is not nukes. Obviously we knew Saddam had had chemical weapons, and obviously we knew he had long ago tried for a nuke. But neither of those remotely justifies pretending he had nukes.

  51. David M says:

    First, the bombings that Clinton did order in 1998 probably played a part in convincing Saddam Hussein to get rid of his WMD programs.

    Secondly, Clinton saying Iraq needed to get rid of WMD is meaningless, as that was never the issue. The issue with the Bush Administration was the fact that they manufactured evidence for the invasion and then ordered the invasion based on lies. And the GOP was more than willing to go along, not caring one iota about the consequences, the aftermath or what the lack of WMD meant.

  52. Ron Beasley says:

    The NAACP in Spokane? I’ve lived in Spokane and could go days or even weeks without even seeing a person of color. Of course I can say the same thing about the suburban city outside of Portland that I live in now.

  53. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Nothing new to see here… Lou Reed, 1978: “I wanna be black”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO_IB661-PQ

    Face it: we all struggle to reinvent ourselves during our lives.

  54. James Pearce says:

    Such a weird story, only related to transgenderism in the sense that this is what a transgendered person would have to do if they didn’t have recourse to transition: Live a lie.

    Watch this cleave in two different directions: some folks focusing on the fraud itself and others focusing on the cultural appropriation angle. Iggy Azalea may get mentioned in the latter conversations.

  55. jummy says:

    Since the thread has already been hijacked to re-litigate the Iraq war,..

    …actually, no. I’m not going to.

    The OP said something patently foolish in a very direct and unambiguous way, and it bears discussion.

    He said that the personality disorder by which Dolezal insists she’s black is something distinct from Jenner’s insistence that he’s a woman, which is not a personality disorder. Now, I don’t know why many progressives have drawn the line between these two patently irrational claims rather than before both of them. But the OP simply declares the one different from the other by force of bald assertion, even while disclaiming his ignorance on the matter.

    As if to demonstrate this acknowledged ignorance, he googles up some debunked pseudo-science about fMRI scans “proving” the validity of “brain gender” as his sole effort at understanding the issue. Then he proceeds to use up the other two thirds of the article to argue that the only people who ought to have any problem with any of this are christian wingnuts.

    I’d like to discuss that. Not the Iraq war, which has nothing to do with it.

  56. Mark Knopfler says:

    These aren’t serious arguments, of course, but rather yet another attempt by social conservatives to demean transgender people, a phenomenon that has been quite prevalent on that side of the political spectrum over the past two weeks.

    I think your assessment is disingenuous, and only intended to insult, and not really engage those who disagree with you in honest debate. Reasonable people can criticize Caitlyn Jenner without being demeaning or bigoted towards transgendered people. The concerns many people have about Ms. Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner alike have nothing to do with bigotry, but mental health. There are clear signs that both suffer from severe mental dysfunction.

    A person wanting to chop off perfectly functioning arms is not healthy (trasabled); a person like Rachel Dolezal or Michael Jackson want to change race is not healthy (transracial); and a man wanting to remove his penis to “transition” into a woman-type being is not healthy (transgendered). However, we’ve come to a point where society dictates we accept all human emotions, without question or argument. “I feel I am a woman” (or perhaps, “I want to be a woman”?) so it must be so.

    This is “the new normal”, as many are saying, and if that’s what society wants to do, so be it. Free pornography on the internet is as normal as apple pie these days. However, any mental health professional will tell you that what is “normal” does not always make for that which is “healthy.” The two are completely separate concepts and are not mutually exclusive. And unfortunately, the debate over what is sound mental health is one we can never have, since emotions can no longer be questioned.

  57. steve jenkins says:

    So, you basically agree with all the other ones. Got it.

  58. michael reynolds says:

    @Mark Knopfler:

    What self-pitying nonsense. Awww, are the bad old liberals beating up on you for beating up on trans people? Poor baby.

    All emotions are valid, as emotions. No one thinks an emotion is anything more than an emotion, and it would of course be silly to tell a person he does not feel fear when he says he’s afraid, or does not feel happy when he is. Right? So, yes, all emotions are emotions, or are unavoidably accepted as such, because there is no way to falsify a person’s description of their own emotional state.

    It sounds like you are opposed to individual liberty. Why? Because ewwww. Eewww, trans people are eewwww. The people whose business it is to judge whether transgenderism is a real thing – psychiatrists and other mental health types – can say what they like, but eewww.

    Are you inside Jenner’s head? Do you have the metadata on her emotional state, on her sense of self? Do you know what she sees when she looks in the mirror? What do you figure, this is a passing notion? A fleeting emotion that she’s held onto for decades? Decades? Sounds more like a permanent state of mind rather than a mere emotion.

    But why should we care what Jenner wants when eeewww, which is of course the identical “argument” conservatives advanced against gay people and thereby lost the youth vote forever.

    Now, personally, I think people who carry guns in public have a serious mental disorder. I think they are driven by pathetic emotional needs to do something patently stupid. But the mass insanity that is the gun cult says, “No, it’s perfectly sane to carry a six-shooter on your hip in a bar.”

    So, lots of people do lots of things I don’t approve of. But this is a free country, so if Caitlyn Jenner wants breasts or if you want a gun, I guess you and I just have to allow, right? The difference being that her breasts won’t go off and kill a child.

  59. Onward Christian Soldiers says:

    I feel black.

    Yes, it is true that I have two white parents, but I feel like a black person trapped in a white body.

    If Bruce Jenner, despite having male anatomy, can feel like a woman, why can’t I, despite having white skin, feel like I’m black.

    I want affirmative action. I feel black.

    Barack Obama has a white mother. I have a white mother. He feels black. I feel black. He got affirmative action — why shouldn’t I get affirmative action as well? I think I being discriminated against. People are bigoted against trans-racial people. I have white skin, but I feel black.

    I’ll take my affirmative action, please.

  60. Mark says:

    michael reynolds: what you’ve just posted is one of the most insanely idiotic posts I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone reading your comment is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  61. Average Joe says:

    You’re relying on BRAIN SCANS, and accusing others of not being serious?

    (1) You say there’s no difference in the brain scans between races. Doesn’t this PROVE Dolezal would scan the same as a black woman?

    (2) Brain scans are a better predictor of gender than DNA and anatomy, because the scans of transgender people “seem to be closer to” the gender they claim to be?

    (3) How can a brain scan detect gender, if gender is determined by whatever the individual claims it to be?

    (4) Dolezal’s PARENTS get to say what she is? I betcha Jenner’s parents said he was a man, too. And his birth certificate!

    “No merit whatsoever”, indeed.

  62. Sane says:

    @michael reynolds:

    When did Bush say they had nukes? Here is what he said in 2002:

    The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons…

    Notice the word “seeking”?

    http://edition.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/10/07/bush.transcript/

  63. Sane says:

    @David M

    First, the bombings that Clinton did order in 1998 probably played a part in convincing Saddam Hussein to get rid of his WMD programs.

    Sure, except there never was any evidence that he got rid of his WMD programs which might explain why Clinton and his administration, Bush and his administration, and intelligence committee members from both parties thought otherwise all the way up to and through the war. Probably also explains why there were UN weapons inspectors traipsing through Iraq until just prior to the war. Everyone believe Iraq had WMD’s and to suggest otherwise is to re-write history.

  64. michael reynolds says:

    @Sane:

    The great thing about the internet is that it lets people like you lie.

    The greater thing about the internet is that your lies get shot down.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @Mark:

    Oh, goody, the hate-fueled Christians are here.

  66. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    She saw an opportunity to build a career. The only obstacle was her inconvenient race. So she lied about it. And was quite successful at it for years.

    What used to be a liability in our society is now seen as a huge potential asset — to the point where people lie to gain benefits.

    Elizabeth Warren fabricated Native American ancestry to advance herself.

    Barack Obama’s publisher had his official biography say that Obama was born in Kenya when hyping his first book.

    Lies are OK when it serves The Greater Good, I guess. And “The Greater Good” means progressive goals.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: If at one point the definition of “Native American” is having at least one great-great-grandparent who is Native American, and you qualify under that because you have a great–great-grandmom who was definitely Native American, and then the US government changes its definition to insist that you have a full Native great-grandparent instead, does that mean you lied when you said you were Native American?

    Sheesh!

  68. Fredo the Wanderer says:

    The best example of this can be found in brain scans, which show that the brains of transgender males or females seem to be closer to the brain of the gender they identify with rather than the one they were born with. This has been documented in studies that go as far back as 1995, as well as more recent studies in 2011, and again in 2013. There have been no documented differences in brain scans between people of different races. Therefore, the analogy that these people are seeking to make has no merit whatsoever.

    This is a disingenuous argument. Progressives who seek acceptance of transgender don’t do so based on someone’s brain chemistry, they do it in the name of respect and tolerance. Are we seriously to believe that if a transgender individual doesn’t have a brain scan that matches the gender with which they identify, the progressive left (including Mr. Mataconis) would then discard them and refuse to recognize the legitimacy of whatever identity they choose?

  69. grumpy realist says:

    @Fredo the Wanderer: Actually, transgenderism did happen quite a bit in history. Not many, but if you look through the records, there are a certain non-zero number of cases of women dressing as men and passing as men (sometimes up to their deathbeds) In periods of time when women were considered inferior to men legally and had difficulty in holding on to property or entering certain professions you can see why a woman wanting to make her own way in the world might want to do this.

  70. Tillman says:

    @Mark Knopfler:

    A person wanting to chop off perfectly functioning arms is not healthy (trasabled); a person like Rachel Dolezal or Michael Jackson want to change race is not healthy (transracial)

    You referring to the pop star there? “Beat It” and such? Yeah, he had a skin condition. Incidentally also why he wore the one glove he was known for: it covered up the beginning of it on his hand. So no, Michael Jackson did not “want to be white.”

    @Fredo the Wanderer: Oh Lord in Heaven, you actually think Mr. Mataconis is progressive?!

    @Average Joe: Question for you Joe: aren’t you the kind that thinks there are essential differences between the genders? Like, physical ones? All a brain scan does is show the physicality of the brain, and if someone’s brain tends to look more like the average female than the average male — wait, do you think there’s a difference between male and female brains?

  71. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds: He might be, or he might just not be capable of constructing weblinks.

  72. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: That’s an interesting hypothetical. I’d say that such a person would be “grandfathered” for the purposes of claiming family history, but unless the law covered it, not legally entitled to any special considerations for such a relationship.

    Does that have anything at all to do with Fauxcahontas? Is that what she’s claiming now? The last I heard, she and her people were stonewalling any questions. If that is what she’s spinning, is she offering any shred of evidence to back it up?

    This is all the logical consequences of identity politics, when what you are is far more important that who you are. If you set up a situation where a certain identity is advantageous, you’re going to have people who will fake that identity for personal gain.

    So we end up with Dolezal pretending to be black, Warren pretending to be Native American, and Barack Obama’s published saying he was born in Kenya instead of Hawaii.

    And then all the people who loved them when they were lying have to pretend that it doesn’t matter when the truth comes out.

  73. Paul Hooson says:

    If she was even Jewish she could at least claim to be marginally African. All Jews are about 3-5% African, considered to be descendants from a Mideastern tribe. Jews were many early founders and supporters of the NAACP as well. Jews were considered to be nonWhite, of Mideastern background to around 1940 in the U.S., and especially in the 60’s and 70’s, more Jews would identify as being “White” despite historic patterns of migration as well as an ethnic background proving their Mideastern and African background. – In the case of this woman, she’s merely a White woman of European background, not even able to claim being African in any way, shape or form, unlike true African Americans, Jews and other Mideasterners, all of which can claim some Black and African ancestry.

  74. jummy says:

    @Tillman: You asked Joe, “…aren’t you the kind that thinks there are essential differences between the genders? Like, physical ones?”

    But you aren’t. So what’s your argument going to be? That transgenderism would be legitimate IF Joe’s incorrect assumptions about gender were correct?

  75. Sane says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Is that how you’re going to end it, Michael? Have your assertions refuted with evidence, name-call, declare victory, then skip off? Courageous.

  76. lounsbury says:

    Reading this story in depth – quite fascinating really – it rather appears as is she has some important mental health issues.

    However re @Paul Hooson: silly Just So antrhopology c. 1910…:
    This is utter bollocks and nothing more than bankrupt Pop Anthropology from the late 19th / early 20th c.: being Jewish (say Sephardic) would not make her any closer to Africa than an Italian.

    Of course all humans are Out of Africa for 99%+ of their ancestry, but leaving that aside, it is sheer stupidity to advance that some Jewish heritage (in USA land most likely to be Ashkenazi and thus heavily N. European) gives a claim to African more than any generic European history.

  77. lounsbury says:

    While it is an excercise if futility, calling Jenos on his various stupid Bolshy lies @Jenos Idanian #13: Since when did Obama claim he was born in Kenya?

  78. Paul Hooson says:

    @lounsbury: Take the Russian Ashkenazi Jews compared to non-Jewish Russians, where DNA proves that the Russian Jews have on average 3% African DNA compared 0% African DNA for the non-Jewish Russians. All of this proves Mideastern and African roots for the Jews compared to non-Jews.

  79. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @lounsbury: First up, jackhole, if you’re going to get all indignant and stuff, accusing me of “Bolshy” lies (what the hell do you even MEAN with “Bolshy?”), you ought to get your basic facts in order. I never said Obama said it, I said his publisher

    Dammit, I did typo. I said “Barack Obama’s published said it.

    It was his publisher who put out an author’s bio that said he was born in Kenya.

    Damned typos…

  80. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Dammit, I did typo. I said “Barack Obama’s published said it.

    That wasn’t a typo. You deliberately wrote “published.” How do I know? Because I said so, that’s why! You can insist to your grave that it was an unintentional error (just as the publisher of Obama’s bio did regarding her incorrect claim about his birthplace), but that’s obviously BS because it’s an irrefutable fact that all conservatives everywhere are racists obsessed with “identity politics,” and my proof is the fact that you wrote “published,” which I will go on to cite in all future discussions as irrefutable proof of my thesis because I say it is! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    (See how that works?)

  81. Tillman says:

    @jummy: The whole point of the brain scan argument is that there are essential differences between genders. If there weren’t, brain scans would be a pointless criterion for distinguishing between the two. The dude wants to believe progressives think all genders are just social constructs that come crashing down on a whim, so he insults the hard science behind gender dysphoria? It’s incoherent and sloppy thinking based on stereotypes more than any rational consideration of facts and implications.

  82. Kylopod says:

    @Paul Hooson: I’ve seen studies indicating that Ashkenazi Jews have significantly more “Sub-Saharan African” DNA than most other Europeans, like this study here. Is that what you’re referring to? You may be confusing “African” with “Sub-Saharan African.” (North Africans historically were considered part of the Caucasian race, though I suspect most of them wouldn’t pass Gregory Kane’s cab test described earlier.) The same study shows small percentages of Sub-Saharan DNA among Spanish, Italian, Greek, and other Southern European groups, albeit not quite as high as among Jews.

    I don’t think this is anywhere near as meaningful as you seem to think. But it is kind of interesting. To me it’s just further proof that “We’re all mutts,” and that race is a social construct, etc.

  83. jummy says:

    @Tillman: I saw where you were going with that after I clicked “post”. The thing is that you’re both right and you’re both wrong.

    There are sex-differentiated brain structures that can be observed with fMRI scans. These are not like genetalia, however. They diverge after puberty under the influence of sex hormones. In other words, a brain scan of a male “transwoman” with a female-sized amygdala is only a brain scan of a man who has been taking estrogen supplements.

    The research laypersons and transactivists claim as proving “brain gender” isn’t conclusive or hard. It’s often conducted by researchers coming from “soft” sciences such as psychology and sociology. In general, fMRI studies on small samples poorly extrapolated have been regarded in the hard sciences as a wide-open back door for pseudoscience to get into some of the less-reputable journals. This is what we’re talking about when we talk about brain scans “proving” transgenderism.

    As a resresult, the current line among transgender activists has been to reject “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” claims – that is, claims that there is a biological explanation which legitimizes transgenderism – and insist simply that it is bigoted to question a transgender person’s claims about what gender they feel they are.

  84. lounsbury says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: In short you are lying dishonest scum who engages in deliberate falsehood to attempt to score ideology driven points….

    That is perfectly Boshevik in habit. That the American Right has absorbed such habits is rather sad, but Right Bolsheviks you are.

    You and your kind are an embarrassment and rather make the Loony Left look good.

  85. Tillman says:

    @jummy:

    As a result, the current line among transgender activists has been to reject “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” claims – that is, claims that there is a biological explanation which legitimizes transgenderism – and insist simply that it is bigoted to question a transgender person’s claims about what gender they feel they are.

    To be fair, I think that’s less “seeking shelter in victimhood” — which never struck me as a defense someone would consciously decide on — and more repudiating the idea of a materialistic source for the condition. I did the same thing with the idea of homosexuality having a genetic source for a long time before recent science started blowing that idea to hell. My impetus for thinking that way was the implication that if it did have a genetic source, people would begin legislating ways to get rid of it.

    Like Mr. Mataconis, I don’t really know much about the particular science around gender transition, but aside from the poor sample sizes I’ll note they only did the fMRI scans on young people who hadn’t taken any hormones yet. It’s a little early science-wise to say brains of a different gender only occur by taking sex hormones.

  86. lounsbury says:

    @Kylopod: We can be quite sure it was not a typo as the demarche is simply senseless otherwise.

    @Paul Hooson:
    This is very simply illiterate nonsense.

    (1) African DNA is a meaningless statement.
    (2) Genetic mapping on Y chromosonal and mitochondrial lines (male and female lines) show (a) Near Eastern and Med origin patrilinearly and (b) unclear but Med and local Euro influenced matrilineal.

    There is no coherent reason to advance the idea mere Jewishness gives someone a closer genetic connexion to Africa (presumably one means some area in SS Africa in reality, although given SS Africa diversity….) than say an Italian American or a Greek American or a Spanish-American …. really quite an array of white European inputs both old and recent.

    On the other hand if one backs of the idiocy relative to Judiasm, there is a perfectly valid point that particularly Med basin lines of descent have ancient African back exchanges.

  87. Kylopod says:

    @lounsbury:

    There is no coherent reason to advance the idea mere Jewishness gives someone a closer genetic connexion to Africa (presumably one means some area in SS Africa in reality, although given SS Africa diversity….) than say an Italian American or a Greek American or a Spanish-American

    See the link I posted again. It did show that Jews, even Ashkenazim, have a slightly higher percentage of SS African in their DNA than Southern Europeans. Probably, it does have to do with their Middle Eastern roots.

    That said, I do think it’s silly to suggest that Jews therefore have some claim to “blackness.” (Besides actual black Jews such as Ethiopian Jews, of course.) There’s nothing in American history that makes us “black” in a social or cultural context–even if our status as “white” has shifted over time.

  88. Paul Hooson says:

    @lounsbury: My point was largely that this woman is purely from a White European background, unlike at the very least Jews, or also some other Mideastern or even Greeks, Italians, Iranians, Spanish, etc who are at least marginally Black and African…

  89. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @lounsbury: You have completely and utterly lost me there. I can’t tell if you’re trying to quote me, someone else, or using emphasis.

    And quite frankly, I don’t care enough to try to work it out.

  90. Kylopod says:

    @Paul Hooson: What you repeatedly do not seem to get is that having tiny percentages of black ancestry in the remote past (like thousands of years back) doesn’t make a person “marginally black”–since blackness is ultimately more a social category than a biological one.

    At no point in US history were Jews (or Southern Europeans) regarded as “black.” They weren’t always considered white, but they were never designated as blacks. They weren’t brought to the country as slaves. They weren’t subject to Jim Crow laws. They did suffer anti-Semitic persecution–both in this country and elsewhere–but they were persecuted as Jews, not as blacks.

    A few years back some researchers made an interesting discovery: Barack Obama’s white mother was a direct descendant of one of the first black slaves in America. She wasn’t of Jewish or S. European extraction: her background is WASP and Irish. And there are probably a lot of supposed whites in this country with similar secrets lurking in their distant ancestral past.

    If Rachel Dolezal went to a DNA clinic or genealogist and made a similar discovery about some remote ancestor, would this in any way justify her behavior? Of course not. She would still have been born and raised as a white woman, without any known family history saying otherwise. Her claims about herself and her family would still be lies. Esoteric facts about DNA won’t change any of that.

  91. Average Joe says:

    @Tillman: Oh, I think brain scans show absolutely nothing. There’s some NYU scientist who the New York Times regularly publishes — he uses brain scans to prove that conservatives or religious people are racist, evil or stupid. It’s no more valuable than astrology.

    Science has discovered an organ, other than the brain, which is an amazing predictor of a person’s gender. It’s called a “penis”. The correlation between people who have them being male is much stronger than the “seems be closer” test adopted by Doug for the brain scan test. But, if we’re going with the scans, then they don’t help any claim that Dolezal is white. Hers would be perfectly consistent with a black woman’s, and THAT’S WHAT SHE SAYS SHE IS!

  92. Average Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: No, Obama DID say it, and his publisher posted it for him for many years. He lied about being born in Kenya to make them seem more exotic to the voters, and then told the truth about being born in Hawaii when he realized that might be a problem with running for president. When the posting was rediscovered in 2012, he instructed his publisher to lie and take all the blame.

  93. Kylopod says:

    He lied about being born in Kenya to make them seem more exotic to the voters, and then told the truth about being born in Hawaii when he realized that might be a problem with running for president.

    Interesting theory. Pity he actually mentioned his Hawaiian birth in his 1995 and 2006 books. So maybe he was only trying to fool illiterate voters?

  94. Average Joe says:

    Read his books carefully, he doesn’t quite say that. And who ever read his books? He said he ate DOGS in them, but nobody noticed until they began pushing that dopey Romney dog-on-the-roof nonsense in 2012.

    And don’t pretend Obama didn’t tell his agent to put the lie about Kenya in his bio. He’s certainly never denied it. All the agent ever did was put out a written statement that she never talked to him about it (suuuuuure) and then refused to grant interviews.

    He also doubtlessly claimed Kenya birth on his school applications, which, of course, we’ll nevER ever see.

  95. Kylopod says:

    @Average Joe:

    Read his books carefully, he doesn’t quite say that.

    Here is a quote from Dreams from my Father, describing his father’s month-long visit to Hawaii where 10-year-old Barack lived at the time:

    “A month. That’s how long we would have together, the five of us in my grandparents’ living room most evenings, during the day on drives around the island or on short walks past the private landmarks of a family: the lot where my father’s apartment had once stood; the remodeled hospital where I had been born; my grandparents’ first house in Hawaii, before the one on University Avenue, a house I had never known.”

  96. lounsbury says:

    It is charming to see the barely and rather badly disguised sheer racial hatred coming through in posts of Average Joe…..

    That one feels motivated to lie and to ‘speculate’ in such a fashion about your President rather flatters him and emphasizes from what low and vile thinking and backgrounds so much of his opposition comes from – the gutters of race hatred.

    Pity really, the US right has given itself over to such. Thankfully on the other side of the Atlantic the dangers of giving in to such are still rather fresher in the memory.

  97. Grewgills says:

    @lounsbury: \
    Yet UKIP is pulling 13% of the popular vote in 3rd place behind the Conservatives and Labour. In Germany, the Netherlands and throughout Europe the nativists are doing quite well. Your bed has fleas as well.

  98. Paul Hooson says:

    @Kylopod: If anyone has any amount of African or Black DNA, then doesn’t that prove that they are marginally Black then? That was my argument about Rachel Dolezal. There is no evidence that she has any Black DNA whatsoever, compared to even Jews, which can at least claim a marginal African or Black ancestry, although most Jews certainly would not classify themselves as African or Black with only just a 3-5% Black or African DNA range.

    My argument is that Rachel Dolezal hasn’t even the most remote connection to being African or Black, yet enhances her skin color and styles her hair to impersonate being part Black which seems very bizarre…

  99. Onward Christian Soldiers says:

    Actually, part of me hopes she pulls off this scam. If she does it could eviscerate affirmative action. Anyone can state that they “feel black”.

    If race is fungible then anyone can claim affirmative action status regardless of their skin color. That would completely gut it.

    Ah, the law of unintended consequences. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

    If Bruce Jenner can say he feels female and Rachel Dolezal can feel black, then I too (despite having two white parents) can feel black and claim affirmative action! 🙂

  100. ernieyeball says:
  101. ernieyeball says:

    @Average Joe The Psychic:..He also doubtlessly claimed Kenya birth on his school applications, which, of course, we’ll nevER ever only I can see.

    FTFY

  102. Kylopod says:

    Notice how Average Joe just disappeared after having his BS shot down. So typical….

  103. Pat Devlin says:

    I think her issues are much deeper than what anyone has mentioned. I think it goes back to the cult like quality of her family. I would bet something happened there which left her totally estranged from them. I mean, look how viciously they are pursuing her now – okay when they were asked the first time, but now it is like they are on a mission to destroy her. Sounds like she wanted ‘out’ from her old identity and found love and acceptance in the AA community and gradually wanted to ‘be’ one of them.