Reason #47,538 Jon Stewart Is The Best: the way he, at times almost inadvertently, contracts an entire complicated mess of an issue into one succinct thought. In the case of Rachel Dolezal, it was a throw away line to Jordan Klepper:
You can cover the story. That’s not a problem. But not as The Black Correspondent.
Well, where were you with that advice for Dolezal nine years ago, Jon?
Granted, Dolezal might have actually done some good by posing as a black woman for ten years. Not because she worked for the NAACP as a lot of people are claiming, but because her bizarre, isolated story has forced a lot of people to talk about things they wouldn’t have otherwise: the fluidity of cultural identity, white appropriation of minority culture, the fact that race is a socially constructed idea in the first place, the horrific treatment of black people in America that’s created “the spectrum of shades and colorings that constitute ‘black’ identity in the United States” that allowed Dolezal to pass as African-American.
Not that any of that excuses what Dolezal did. Her goal wasn’t to start those national conversations, it was to deceive people. Which is what makes Jessica Williams assessment of the situation all the more on point:
We don’t need oppression cosplay. We need allies, not replacements.