Friday, September 11, 2015


If [Spokane NAACP President Rachel] Dolezal obscenely fantasized about becoming black, [Michael Derrick] Hudson at first looks like a clear-eyed calculator.
Ken Chen "Why A White Poet Posed As Asian To Get Published, And What's Wrong With That"
"Obscenely." I stopped reading there, ignoring the rest of the article. Why, I wondered, obscenely?
adjective | ob·scene | \äb-ˈsēn, əb-\
1 :  disgusting to the senses :  repulsive

2 a :  abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically :  designed to incite to lust or depravity
b :  containing or being language regarded as taboo in polite usage
c :  repulsive by reason of crass disregard of moral or ethical principles
d :  so excessive as to be offensive

— ob·scene·ly | adverb
"If [Spokane NAACP President Rachel] Dolezal repulsively, by reason of crass disregard of moral or ethical principles, fantasized about becoming black, [...]." Truly? Is it really so repulsive for someone to want to be like me? Does it really require a crass disregard of moral or ethical principles to see someone like me as worthy of emulation. Why so? And how, really, is that different from when the mainstream once considered a "black" person "passing" as "white" to be an obscenity?

These are rhetorical questions. I have already been bombarded with answers to them, earnest, heartfelt and strident. None of them speak to me. And so I'm okay with her desire to be black. I'm okay with her wanting to be something different from herself, and okay enough with myself that I don't need to guard it against her. I don't need her to be "confused" or "repulsive" or "obscene." If she sees being black to be something to aspire to, I'm okay with her aspiring to that, even if part of me doesn't understand it.

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