This morning I decided to watch the full Today show interview with Rachel Dolezal. I was curious to hear her side of the story after recent allegations against her. If you’re unfamiliar I’ll briefly summarize by saying this former NAACP chapter president was apparently born of two Caucasian parents, but has spent a large part of her adult life under the title of a black woman. Naturally this has angered many people as they feel she lied to the public at large, and some are even calling this biracial-looking woman a racist.
As I watched the interview it became obvious to me (even if I had not see the very white girl in her teen year photos) that through her evasion of direct questioning and ambiguous answers that this woman wasn’t born African American. She had simply transformed herself to appear that way.
I grew very confused over her continuous use of the word “identified.” Repeatedly she used this word to describe how she had become an apparent black woman. In essence she was not a black woman, but she did identify as one. From what I could gather, and believe me, it was very convoluted, it seemed that the word identify equaled what you wanted to be. Well, if that were the case then I certainly identified as a millionaire.
I was pretty shaken after watching the video clip. Here was a white woman who identified as a black woman, and she had lived as one for many years. She would in fact still be living as one if her Caucasian parents hadn’t let the cat out of the bag. I looked over at my four year old daughter, and I became very worried for her. I was worried for this world she was living in today.
You see, for some time now my daughter has exihibited very distinct traits that identify her as other than a little girl. For over a year now I’ve noticed it, and her father has too. It’s not just the barking. She runs around on all fours, and sometimes she even eats her dinner out of a saucer on the floor. Ms. Dolezal said in her interview that at the age of five she began to draw herself as a black girl, and my daughter draws herself as a canine quite often. I see my child, and I am certain she is identifying as a puppy.
I’m worried because the world is changing. I’ve seen the stories emerging of five year old boys wanting to play with dolls and wear dresses. At such an advanced age their parents are comfortable that they are mature enough to make gender deciding roles, and since they are identifying as a gender other than the one they were born with, then their parents are allowing them to decide. Jimmy is identifying as Julia, so now we all must call him/her Julia. I must now be okay with Jimmy, I mean Julia, using the same restroom as my own daughters who were lucky enough to be born with a vagina already.
I probably wouldn’t have worried about this fifteen or twenty years ago. I mean, we did live in a world then where if you identified as a big-breasted woman instead of an A cup you could take care of that, but otherwise it was pretty taboo to identify outside of your genetic make-up. But now I am raising children in a world of self-gratification where what you want is what you get. The word empowerment is becoming the Holy Grail of today’s language, and everyone wants to feel the right to be who they want to be without discrimination. Women stepping out of roles traditionally held for females are becoming empowered to be their own dominant self. In fact we’re all so busy reading our self-help books and becoming empowered that we’re taking the real power right out of our creator’s hands. We make the decisions, we make it happen. We’re empowered!
In a world where boys can identify as girls and vice-versa, and Caucasians can identify as African Americans simply because they feel that way, they desire to be that way, and not because they were born that way, then why should it sound so ridiculous or far-fetched that I fear my daughter wanting to be a dog. Who’s to say that a well-meaning teacher won’t suggest to me that we take her to counseling to explore her feelings related to species confusion. Perhaps an educated psychologist will suggest that she needs some freedom to decide what kind of creation she wants to be in this life. Maybe she needs to be empowered to make her own decision about whether she identifies better with Homo sapiens or Canines.
I certainly don’t think I’m raising her in a world where we hypothesize that a person’s dissatisfaction with themselves may be based on an injured psyche from childhood, or perhaps even the obvious conclusion that we are all empty human beings searching for a Savior to make us feel complete.
I once knew a man who was a very unhappy individual. At the peak of his discontentment he began searching frantically for how to make himself happy. He quit his job. He moved. He changed his friends. He began to diet, work-out, and cut unhealthy habits from his life. He frequently bought new, stylish clothing. Eventually he even divorced his wife in his search for self-empowerment and the quest to be happy. I often wonder if my ex-husband ever found his joy, but I know if he didn’t finally fill himself with Jesus then he’s likely still searching.
I could be off my rocker, and according to a world where it’s becoming more and more common to identify beyond what God created you to be, then I guess I am. But in my humble opinion I think we will never be happy with who we are until we’re happy with who God made us to be. I don’t ever think we’ll truly feel empowered until we understand the power really rests in God’s hands. We can read every self-help book available, but until we allow Jesus to help us we will fail over and over again.
In reality my daughter is no more a dog than I’m an African American, male millionaire, but we do find our true power in our absolute inheritance. We find our joy, peace, and feeling of belonging as princesses under the rule of the One True King. For many people who read this that last comment may sound as silly to them as my worrying that my daughter is identifying as a puppy, but I can tell you this. In my experience no peace compares to that of accepting your status as a child of God, and no feeling of belonging and identification compares to it. And I guess with that in mind you can understand that I’m not really worried at all.