The last few days I've seen headlines and pictures of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who identifies black. I was disposed toward indifference. Not interested in seeing interviews with her. I didn't care about her getting busted for being a wannabe and it working for her. I couldn't help but feel like she was thrown under the bus for smokescreen, to distract attention from something else that matters. This morning I went to an interview with her and found it interesting. Found another and found it equally interesting. I even felt like I understood her. I don't have an inclination to do such a thing, but she did. It's her story, not mine. I was able to pay attention to her once I got it settled it has nothing to do with me or anybody but her. It's her's. I like hearing other people's stories, and took an interest in Rachel's. I see the liberal news talking heads, pundits, in full judgment, belittling her, talking about her like she's a fraud. The white male interviewers attempted to make her story a lie, and she kept saying it's more complex than true or false, right or wrong. Seeing her exasperation with them talking down to her, I felt like she was being true to her meaning. All she said is she identifies black and has felt closeness with blackness since childhood, age five.
It's at about that age kids sometimes tap into their previous lifetime. Maybe she was black last time and more comfortable living in black culture over white culture. Growing up in northern Idaho seems to me to have a dreariness factor the equal of Kansas. When a child has a passion for making music, picks up an instrument, figures it out and starts playing, it's a good sign the kid played music in the previous lifetime. I wanted to paint as a child, but due to circumstances and a bad case of low self-esteem, I didn't even try it until I turned forty. I already knew what to do and how to do it. Everything about it seemed obvious. This could have something to do with why I don't paint any more than I do. I lose patience with the obvious. It has to do with why I stay away from television, for having raised the obvious to a lucrative art form. Television swallowed up irony the same as it swallows the life spirit. Listening to the interviewers badger Rachel Dolezal, and the pundits making fun of her, it came to me that just a week or two ago they were praising Kaitlyn Jenner for growing up wanting to be a girl and going ahead and doing it. So transgender. So PC. So de rigeuer. So awesome. So cool. Cover of Vanity Fair. The time Jon Stewart slipped up and said Bruce, he instantly apologized, red-faced, hand over mouth.
This week we have a white woman saying she grew up wanting to be black and one day committed to live as a black woman from then on. She's being called a liar, her motives questioned, her credibility questioned. They give the impression they believe outing her is going to make her go back to being a white woman in shame and defeat. She will go on living as a black woman. She likes black culture, the company of black people, like I like mountain culture and the company of mountain people. Nobody calls me a liar or questions my credibility, that I know of, for adopting a culture for my own that I did not grow up in. I like living among these people. She, too, grew up in a place without a culture and likes living among black people for their culture. The pundits say she can't call herself black. Then I can't call myself a hillbilly. But I do and will, because I am a hillbilly, a working class white guy living in the mountains who has adopted the culture, naturalized. Somebody interviews me and tells me I can't call myself a hillbilly because I grew up in Flatland, how do you tell a television interviewer, who is unable to step beyond the obvious for a thought, "it's more complex than true and false," in words more obvious?
I saw a clip from the women's tv show, The View. They were theorizing about this and that, and Whoopie Goldberg said, if she wants the black woman experience, come on and get it. It's not so popular an experience that white women are lining up to pay admission. I came out of reading a few brief articles and seeing some videos of interviews, including with her parents. sympathetic with Rachel. The comedy for me was seeing the talking heads so righteous about transgender acceptance, gay wedding acceptance, we're just human beings, after all, last week. Then mocking Rachel when she said she's a human being with a deep inner longing to be black, who let herself live as a black woman. Why is Rachel a liar and Kaitlyn Jenner not a liar? He didn't grow up in the girl locker rooms? Not a problem. Tres PC. I saw something saying the black people of Spokane, where she was president of the NAACP, embrace her now as before, like about her that she wants to be black. The community may bond with her like never before. The only problem I saw she had on the television interviews was her attempts to be honest were cut off by presumptions and Joe McCarthy statements in question form, Are you an African-American? I can't see changing racial identity any bigger a deal than changing gender. It's no more than a cultural change. I don't see any of it a big deal, and had the impression Rachel Dolezal didn't see it a big deal either. But she's caught in media spin, the novelty of the week, somebody exposed being true to self in a false world, and shamed for it at will.
richard shelton himself