When in 1637 the French philosopher Rene Descartes said, “I think therefore I am” I’m guessing he didn’t have Rachel Dolezal in mind. But you never know.
In case you’ve been in a coma for the past week, Rachel Dolezal is the white woman who until recently was the head of the Spokane, Washington NAACP. Ms. Dolzesal thinks she’s black. Therefore, in her mind anyway, she is black.
You may not understand Ms. Dolezal’s reasoning but that’s probably because you’re not as smart as Descartes.
Ms. Dolezal has been blasted for her deception, but I kind of like the way she thinks. It makes it easier for me to think I play centerfield for the New York Yankees. Sometimes I think I’m a horse.
Well, as strange as all this sounds, we’re now learning, thanks to a guest column in the Huffington Post, that Rachel Dolezal isn’t alone when it comes to self loathing for being white.
Ali Michael, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote the column under the headline, “I Sometimes Don’t Want to be White Either.” Guess what it’s about.
Don’t bother. Here’s a portion of her column:
“There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors … and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn’t have biological children because I didn’t want to propagate my privilege biologically.
“If I was going to pass on my privilege, I wanted to pass it on to someone who doesn’t have racial privilege; so I planned to adopt. I disliked my Whiteness, but I disliked the Whiteness of other White people more. I felt like the way to really end racism was to feel guilty for it, and to make other White people feel guilty for it too. And then, like Dolezal, I wanted to take on Africanness. Living in South Africa during my junior year abroad, I lived with a Black family, wore my hair in head wraps, shaved my head. I didn’t want to be White, but if I had to be, I wanted to be White in a way that was different from other White people I knew. I wanted to be a special, different White person. The one and only. How very White of me…”
Professor Michael, who has a Ph.D, says, for her the desire to be black was a phase, a phase she has since moved on from. But she learned from her experience, she tells us. And so, this is how she ends her column:
“Being White — even with the feeling of culturelessness and responsibility for racism — is nothing compared to not being White. But being White — and facing the truth of what that means historically and systemically — can drive you to do the weird and unthinkable that we see in Dolezal today.
“It seems like a good warning. Rachel Dolezal’s actions are a potential pitfall for any White people on the journey towards recognizing the truth of what it means to be White and accepting responsibility for it. But we cannot not be White. And we cannot undo what Whiteness has done. We can only start from where we are and who we are.”
And then we can check ourselves into the nearest asylum that specializes in the treatment of white liberal guilt.