Rachel Dolezal has opened another door in the hallway of moral relativism. We might call this one reality relativism. Reality is only what we think. My reality is different than your reality. It’s similar to moral relativism only broader in its scope.
Moral relativism is the notion that there are no absolutes in terms of behavior as long as the behavior doesn’t hurt anyone. The moral relativists overlook the difficulty with “as long as the behavior doesn’t hurt anyone.” Whether or not a behavior hurts someone is a matter of your relative view of what “hurt” means.
Reality relativism takes this one more step. No longer is morality only relative but actuality is relative. Who is to say Rachel Dolezal isn’t black? She self-identifies as black so she is black. Who is to say Caitlyn Jenner, f/k/a Bruce, isn’t a woman? He identifies as a woman so he is a woman. Rachel Dolezal’s case is more compelling that Caitlyn’s. Caitlyn has an X and a Y chromosome, which, under the commonly accepted definition of gender, makes him male. Yet s/he can ignore this inconvenient scientific fact because s/he identifies as a woman. What makes a person black as opposed to Oriental or Caucasian? It’s certainly less clear cut than the type of chromosomes one has. Perhaps there is some black DNA in her but maybe not. In such a murky case shouldn’t we all just accept her view of reality?
It seems Rachel’s biggest problem is that she passed herself off as black in order to get a job as head of her local NAACP in Spokane, WA. Apparently the NAACP is incensed that a white person is heading the local chapter. What’s wrong with that? Certainly the NAACP can’t refuse to hire a qualified person on the basis of race — that’s clearly discriminatory and illegal. By all accounts she was doing a good job furthering the cause of the organization. Is the NAACP a racist organization?
By what standard can we say Caitlyn is a woman but Rachel is not black? A generation ago the notion that a person who “identifies” as the opposite sex is really of that gender was as laughable as Rachel is today. Yet the transgender concept now appears to be fully accepted, at least in the Politically Correct world. Anyone who dares to criticize Caitlyn faces charges of being transgender-phobic. But no one is jumping to Rachel’s defense.