You've heard about them. Perhaps too much, and I should just leave it be. But I will blame Jimmy Fallon.
I won’t call this a rant, and will try to keep it to an observation… an observation that was crystallized in a moment of Jimmy’s monologue on The Tonight Show.
We know the stories. Bruce Jenner is going through the transition of becoming Caitlyn Jenner, and the media is celebrating his transgender process as courage and authenticity.
Rachel Dolezal, president of the NAACP in Spokane Washington, was found to be white, and not of mixed African American heritage, as she had led people to believe. And the media is tearing her apart as a fraud.
In Journey Canada, we teach about the current popular mindset of Essentialism... that if you feel something, it is a part of your essence. This mentality says that to be an authentic person, and true to your essence, you should act on those feelings. If you feel attracted to the same gender, then that is who you are, you are gay, and you should act on those feelings. If you feel you are the wrong gender, then you are, and you should change it. It is even seen as a moral obligation, and if you do not act on those feelings, then you are not being true to who you really are.
This mindset is dangerous and precarious. Feelings are fickle. Feelings change.
The observation I want to make is an obvious one. Why is Bruce Jenner championed as an icon for authenticity, while Rachel Dolezal is shamed as a charlatan?
As I said, I blame Jimmy Fallon for making me write about this. Joanne and I thoroughly enjoy Jimmy, and one night, in his opening monologue, he made the following joke:
“Rachel Dolezal stepped down from her position as president of an NAACP chapter after it was revealed that she was a white woman pretending to be black. Now her brother says he knew about it but she asked him not to blow her cover. Unfortunately, her cover had already been blown by God when he made her a blond-haired, blue-eyed white lady.” – Jimmy Fallon
This is the obvious hypocrisy in the media and our current culture. Didn't God make Bruce Jenner a boy? But Jimmy would never dare to make a joke about that.
Bruce feels like a woman, so our culture thinks it is a part of his essence. So he should act on altering that. But Rachel feels black. She has been referred to as “Transracial.” One news site quoted her tweet:
She also tweeted a picture of herself next to a picture of Caitlyn Jenner, with the caption “who are you to decide what is right for me?”
She has a point. Why is it okay for Bruce to feel like he has the wrong genitalia, and not okay for Rachel to feel like she has the wrong skin?
Culture points at her and laughs. Look at her! Ask her mother! She’s white! But I'm sure if we were to ask Bruce Jenner’s mother, she would say that she gave birth to a boy.
There has been much talk and writing about our culture and our view of sexuality and identity. Some have said we are on a slippery slope. Others have said that we have slid down the slope and made camp at the base of it. I would have to say we are leaning toward the latter.
God help us all.