Rachel Dolezal was the head of the Spokane, Washington NAACP.  She was forced to resign from that position when it was “discovered” that she is not black. When confronted by a reporter with evidence that her parents are white, Rachel froze and seemed confused. Pictures spread online showing her as freckle-faced, strawberry blond girl from Montana.  But she has never wavered in her claim to identify as a black person, consistently maintaining this even in the face of withering criticism, most recently on a visit to South Africa.

 

The case of Caitlyn Jenner is different.  Can you imagine anyone confronting Caitlyn with pictures of herself as a young Bruce Jenner, as though such pictures could prove that Caitlyn is not a woman?

 

I have not found anyone who can satisfactorily explain how these two cases differ, although most people seem to assume they are different.  Why is Rachel Dolezal ridiculed and abused, while Caitlyn Jenner is celebrated, even earning Glamour Magazine’s title, “Woman of the Year”?

 

It apparently has something to do with "cultural appropriation."  Obviously, it has nothing to do with biology, which can be appropriated.  Is sexual reassignment surgery not biological appropriation?  Sexual reassignment allows the individual to express in a biologically outward form who they feel they are on the inside.  Biology can be appropriated.  But culture is set in stone.  And many seem eager to punish cultural appropriators like Rachel Dolezal, who run afoul of what would like to be the new dominant cultural view.

 

Many have praised Caitlyn Jenner for her bravery.  But how is it brave to subject oneself to celebration?  It seems to me that Rachel Dolezal is much braver.  In fact, that seems to be the main difference.

 

Please help me understand how these are different, if they are.  It seems to me that Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner should be treated the same way.  What am I missing?