Yesterday, I learned that I am actually an intolerant person. And that’s OK. Because in reality, tolerance is overrated, isn’t it? Demanding tolerance in and of itself is quite realistically the act of demanding the right to determine another person’s thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Yesterday, I also learned that I am a hypocrite. And you know what? That is also OK. Because in reality, I have the right to pick and choose what it is that I do, or don’t, believe in, agree with, or feel a certain way about.
That’s one of the beautiful things about being an individual. You get to decide what you think about things. You don’t have to be consistent, because your thoughts don’t affect anyone but you. So yes, I’m a hypocrite. The big thing is that I acknowledge and accept this about myself. Many others who have found themselves in my exact position the past few days are not quite as open about such things.
No one wants to be called intolerant, or a bigot, or a hypocrite… but why are such words always so negatively laced? Let’s talk about why I’m a hypocrite.
I fully support Caitlyn Jenner‘s decision to live her life as a woman. Was she born biologically male? She sure was. But she isn’t hurting anyone. While I personally feel more supportive of those who make the transition without millions of dollars, a Vanity Fair cover shoot, a loving family, and a massive fan base, I still support her decision.
I do not feel the same for everyone, however.
Recently in the headlines everywhere, we heard the story of Rachel Dolezal, who has become so popular that my phone automatically updated to suggest her last name whenever I type the word “Rachel.” Dolezal was a “black woman” who was outed by her parents as being white. She was the President of the Spokane NAACP who resigned following the outing and resulting massive social media firestorm. And now, to the surprise of exactly no one, Dolezal is on her media interview tour, milking her 15 minutes of controversy.
In an interview Tuesday with Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, Dolezal said that she does in fact identify as black, despite being biologically white. She describes drawing herself with “the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon” at ages as young as five, and growing up with the “black is beautiful” mindset and wanting to celebrate that. Dolezal told Harris-Perry that she lives her life “really owning what it means to experience and live in blackness…” but that from a young age she was “socially conditioned” to not own that because she was “limited to the biological identity trust upon” her.
Let’s pretend for a minute Dolezal is neither con artist nor raging psychopath, and that she actually really believes this. How is Rachel Dolezal any different from Caitlyn With-A-C Jenner?
Every attempt I have seen made by people asking what the difference between transgender and “transracial” is results in, essentially, a “my feelings” rebuttal. If we’re being completely honest here, there is no major difference between choosing your gender identity and choosing your racial identity. Many claim that race is very much so determined by cultural upbringing – but the same could really be said about gender as well. Growing up male is different than growing up female, because males and females are different. History of oppression? Talk to any hardcore feminist, they’ll tell you of both the historical and the “current” oppression of women.
I see the question “Has she even thought about how this affects the black community?” Well, how does it? Who is really walking away from this hurt? Has any actual, direct, identifiable harm been done to anyone, anywhere? If anything, Dolezal has done more to unite the races than anyone before her, because we’re all talking about how crazy she is… together. What did Dolezal really do? She changed her appearance, advocated for a race that was not biologically her own, and lied about her past.
We are a society that accepts tanning, hair dye, breast implants, and even surgically redesigned vaginas as part of a person’s right to choose their appearance – and yet few people are accepting Dolezal’s choice and, dare I say agency, when determining how she wants to look and live. She’s advocating for black people while living as a black woman? Even without living the way she does, is this actually a real complaint? I’ll agree on lying about her past, but she sure isn’t the first to have done such a thing. Much like someone who is transgender lives their life as the gender then have transitioned to, Dolezal lived her life as the race she transitioned to. She caused no direct harm to anyone.
And yet I refuse to accept it. And that’s OK, because I don’t have to accept it. I don’t have to accept her any more than she has to accept me for my tattoos, or my unfortunately pale skin, or the fact that I’m a single mother. Our lives are affected zero by our opinions of one another.
The people who are trying to say there is a real difference between transgender and “transracial” people are the ones who want to judge her without jeopardizing their politically correct social justice mask. To them I say: wave that hypocrite flag. Own it. There’s nothing wrong with being a hypocrite as long as you realize you are.
One thing I will give Rachel Dolezal is that she made me reflect on myself and the ways in which I’ve always responded to a variety of different bigots. Is personal intolerance really so bad? Am I an awful person for not accepting her for who she is? Why is acceptance a thing to be demanded? Why does anyone have the right to dictate another person’s thoughts and beliefs? Why is there one definitive “right” way to view the world, and the people living within it?
We all want acceptance, but none of us will ever be accepted, or respected, by everyone in the world. None of us will ever accept, or respect, everyone in the world. Am I a hypocrite? You bet. I’m exercising my right to believe what I want to believe, accept what I want to accept, and think what I want to think. And, for one last time, that’s OK.
Liz Finnegan is a soulless ginger with no political leanings. Pun enthusiast. Self-proclaimed “World’s Okayest Person.” Retro gaming contributor for The Escapist.
Read more from Liz by flipping through the gallery below.
Feminism?This story might make you gag. A feminist blogger is making yeast infection bread.
Paris AttacksThe day of the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris was not the day the music died.
Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images
Political CorrectnessAnne Rice is right. We are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness.
(Photo by Beck Starr/WireImage)
EntitlementJames Harrison returned his kids' "participation trophies." He is teaching his children not to feel entitled. We could all take a page out of that book.
Walk-outMissouri high school students stage a walk-out after transgender teen uses girls' locker room.
Outrage CultureLiz Finnegan weighs in on Troy Baker, ice cream toppings and outrage culture.
Planned ParenthoodBadass feminist Camille Paglia slams liberal media over Planned Parenthood silence.
Donald TrumpThe Howard Stern of politics now sets his sights on POWs.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Confederate Flag ControversyWith the controversy about the Confederate flag, some games aren't even allowed to be historically accurate.
Same-Sex MarriageNo, the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage was not an attack on states' rights.
SlutWalkFind out what happened when a reporter held up a sign at SlutWalk that read: “There Is No Rape Culture in the West”
What I Learned From Rachel DolezalLiz Finnegan explores why it's OK to be a hypocrite when it comes to opinions on Rachel Dolezal.
TransabledPeople who are disabled by choice are being labeled "transabled". Yes, it's actually a thing.
The reality is many participants in the ill-informed social justice movement hold themselves to different standards of speech and behavior than they hold others.
#GiveYourMoneyToWomenLiz Finnegan discusses the reality of the latest trending hashtag: #GiveYourMoneyToWomen.
Women in STEMLiz Finnegan discusses the popular misconceptions and scapegoats concerning the gender gap in STEM fields.
Nothing But the TruthLiz Finnegan explores the truth about campus rape hoaxes and false accusations.
Game of ThronesA fictional crime -- the rape of Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones -- has sparked real outrage. But, this is what watchers of the show signed up for.
Image source: HBO
Harassment?A Kennesaw State University student was accused of harassment for sitting in a waiting room, and waiting for his advisor.
Image source: YouTube
MisandryMisandry is a real problem that needs to be addressed. The true irony of "ironic misandry" is that it isn't ironic at all.
Image source: Tumblr
Bedtime StoriesThis social justice professor says bedtime stories can give your kid an unfair advantage over others.
Image source: Shutterstock
Sexual ConsentSexual consent is a two-way street with dual responsibility, and no one is talking about this.
Image source: Shutterstock
Social MediaTwitter is filtering the quality out of social media by censoring tweets without you even knowing about it.
Image source: Shutterstock