I’m not in the clearest head space at the moment. A wee little virus wants to take over my system, it seems. So I will flush it out with gallons of herbal tea, and try to rest.
While I’m at it, I will try to rest my mind. Allow it to stay open. Which means I should turn off the computer, but instead I’m vacantly reading articles and posts about the latest weird story my hometown is in the news for: Rachel Dolezal. Oh, Spokane. I think I’m hooked because she’s my age and just as white as I am, yet has been portraying herself as a member of the African-American community for 10 years. It does speak to Spokane’s lack of diversity that apparently all Rachel had to do was get a tan and a weave to be seen as black. She’s also an artist, and she’s getting raked over the coals for plagiarizing artwork, too.
On her artwork: Artists copy famous works of art all the time. The only problem is that she didn’t credit the artist she copied. She still painted a painting. Whether it is good or not is besides the point.
On her life choices: People become interested in cultures and histories outside of their own all the time. They also work to help people. They make fashion and hairstyle choices that are different than some people and similar to other people. The only problem is that she lied.
Why did she lie? Who knows. I would guess a fundamental insecurity that she would not be accepted as herself in the world (activism? black culture?) in which she wanted to be involved. Which, not surprisingly, has been validated. It is not like she was a member of the Aryan Nations, infiltrating the NAACP in order to sabotage their work. My best guess for any extreme story like this is simple: mental illness. It is a bad idea to draw conclusions about society at large from one person’s delusions.
So, while I understand why people – especially black women – are upset over Rachel’s lies, it also seems like it would be better to stop reading so much into it. Just like it would be better to leave Tim Hunt alone now. Yes, his comments were stupid and the #distractinglysexy backlash was hilarious. He deserved to be called out…but then what? Destroy his whole career? His wife describes herself as a feminist who never would have put up with a sexist husband. But like many husbands, hers makes bad jokes.
My husband almost got his head taken off by sweet little me when he said “it is probably true that more women cry in labs.” WHAAAAT? I gave him the death glare. But he saved it by continuing his sentence – that he has seen male faculty members be antagonistic and mean to women in science. Crying isn’t a weakness of women but a symptom of the hostility they have to overcome to make it in their field.
And to quote Amanda Palmer, crying at work ain’t no big thing. Maybe the problem isn’t that women cry too much, but that men cry too little. And that we’re all so afraid of feeling anything we have to shut the tears down instead of just letting it out and moving on.
The world is still crazy. I accept it. Time to move on.