McWhorter: Dolezal Became Black ‘For the Victimhood’

Columbia University linguistics Professor John McWhorter declared that Rachel Dolezal “converted to blackness for the victimhood” on Wednesday’s “NOW with Alex Wagner” on MSNBC.

McWhorter denied that there is a similarity between Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner because “We’re not talking about something that has to do with biology. We’re talking about something that’s much narrower and more contingent.”

He continued, “why this person didn’t feel right in her own skin is that just like the Tim Whatley character on ‘Seinfeld’ converted to Judaism for the jokes, she has converted to blackness for the victimhood. She wants the sense of noble victimhood that she sees as coming from being black and has even fabricated incidents of victimhood to keep this going. So if she felt that she wasn’t quite a person without having the victimization that she saw black people as having, then there’s an analogy to wanting to be someone of another gender. But, really she’s just a rather peculiar and self-dramatizing person.”

Later, McWhorter agreed with host Alex Wagner that there has been a “breakdown in our criminal justice system” and “mass incarceration of predominantly black men” “that we don’t want to really deal with in broad daylight” and that the subject of race “goes back to the sort of building of our economy on slavery.” But added, “My thought was, ‘Well if somebody can decide that they’re black as a fashion statement, then, in a way, it shows that for some kinds of black people, there’s been a certain amount of progress.’ Because she wouldn’t have done this, even in Spokane, Washington, even in 1970, 1980, it would have been too horrific to walk as black. Today she can do that, and she ends up having to create the hate crimes and things herself. Not to say that real things don’t happen to real black people. But the fact that she can do this now made me think, ‘Wow we’ve come a long enough way that somebody can do something as goofy as this.'”

He concluded by predicting Dolezal would change her gender next, because “first she has to be different by going to an all-black school. That didn’t work. And so then she has to become a black person. Now, that didn’t work. She’s going to have to come up with something else. What else is it going to be? What else is there? She’s going to change her gender, and then we can talk about that.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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