Saturday, December 19, 2015

Adolph Reed on Jenner, Dolezal, and identitarianism

I failed to blog this when it came out, for which I apologize. As usual with Reed, the whole thing is worth reading, but I'll just give you this bit of From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, the Other Not So Much:
But the more serious charge is the moral one, that, as Michelle Garcia puts it, "It’s pretty clear: Dolezal has lied." But here too, it’s not clear what’s so clear. Is the point supposed to be that Dolezal is lying when she says she identifies as black? Or is it that being black has nothing to do with how you identify? The problem with the first claim is obvious – how do they know? And on what grounds does Jenner get to be telling the truth and Dolezal not? But the problem with the second claim is even more obvious since if you think there’s some biological fact of the matter about what race people actually belong to utterly independent of what race they think they belong to, you’re committed to a view of racial difference as biologically definitive in a way that’s even deeper than sexual difference.
Reed's piece is mentioned in Should we choose our racial identities?, which is also worth a look.