Rachel Dolezal, Alice Jones’ Nipples, the Rhinelander Fortune, and Racist White Fire Fighters Who Tried to Pass for ‘Black’

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-10-30 00:24Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal, Alice Jones’ Nipples, the Rhinelander Fortune, and Racist White Fire Fighters Who Tried to Pass for ‘Black’

Indomitable: The Online Blog of Essayist and Cultural Critic Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega

Alice Beatrice Jones and Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander of Rhinelander v. Rhinelander (1924).

I want to extend a sincere thanks to all of the kind folks who donated so far. I have about 10 more “thank you” emails to go. I am very close to the goal for the fundraiser. We have stalled today and hopefully if a few folks thrown in some supportive monies, I can pull in the begging bowl for another six months…

…I am not very kind to Rachel Dolezal. I chose to speak the truth about her racial con game and made my best effort to provide some context for her most offensive act of racial tourism.

Race may be a “social construct”. But the colorline–and who is considered “white” and those considered “non-white” in the United States has a deep, long, and ugly history. Those boundaries have been policed by the law, enforced by violence, and as Ian Haney Lopez notes in the brilliant book White by Law (another complement read is Cheryl Harris’s widely cited 2001 Harvard Law Review article Whiteness as Property“) white racial group membership is a type of property with economic value that has been widely litigated in America’s courtrooms.

While too much energy has already been spent on the Rachel Dolezal racial tragicomedy, one of the most important aspects of “passing” and its many variants (white to black; black to white; brown to black; black to brown; white to something else; Martian to human)–the relationship between race and the law–has been little commented upon by the mainstream pundit classes…

Legal scholar Randall Kennedy’s 2001 Ohio Law Review article “Racial Passing” is an essential and highly informative survey of the law and racial passing in the United States.

It is wonderful writing that contains moments of great wit and storytelling.

Here is a great gem (of despicable behavior) about a scandalous case among turn of the 20th century New York City high society types in which the black body, intimate knowledge, and the color of a woman’s nipples, were introduced as a type of evidence “proving” racial group membership:…

Read the entire article here.

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