The discussions about Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP official in Spokane passing herself as ethnically Black despite white biological parents, are quite frankly surreal. Not only are many using it as another pretext to go after “identity politics” (however each defines that) but they’re now Judith Butlerizing the discussion so that gender & ethnicity (race is not a concept I accept) are both performative.
Philosophically what’s going on here is a retreat to idealism. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave & theory of forms is entirely apropos. When you deny lived political reality, you end up chasing shadows. Tell an unarmed Black teen who’s shot in the back or is wrestled to the ground in a choke hold that their ethnicity is just performative. Tell a woman who’s been raped or assaulted that her gender is just performative or that her sweatshop wages are just performative.
When women, Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans stand up against our oppression for just being who we are, we’re told our politics are lowbrow & divisive. My ass! What’s divisive is those who think we should stand with white men as our leaders while they pinch our butts, talk to us like we’re idiots, & make us try to follow them like guppies.
The greatest indignities I’ve faced as a working class woman are as a working class woman–not as some kind of abstract proletarian. And a good share of the crap came from my so-called brothers. It isn’t Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans & women who have to defer to supremacy. Supremacists have to smarten the hell up, stop treating us like inferiors, & move the hell over because there’s a new day dawning.