March 22, 2017
This column by ACRU Policy Board Member and Professor of Economics Dr. Walter E. Williams was published March 22, 2017 by Townhall.
Determining one’s own sex or that of another used to be a simple matter. First, there was the matter of appearance, whether a person looked like a male or looked like a female. If appearance produced some uncertainties, one could determine sex by examining a person’s birth certificate. If appearance and a birth certificate produced uncertainties, the ultimate, absolute proof of sex was a person’s chromosomes; XX marked a female, and XY marked a male. Case closed.
But those old-fashioned simple methods of identifying sex have changed. In fact, relying on those old tried-and-true methods of sex identification qualifies one for opprobrium, with the charge of being homophobic. Today — independent of appearance, genitalia, birth certificate and chromosomes — one is a male or female based on how one labels oneself.
This new liberty applies to not only sex but also race. Rachel Dolezal, born Caucasian, chose to be a black person. By becoming a black person, she became the president of the Spokane, Washington, office of the NAACP and an instructor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University. As far as she is concerned, she’s still a black person now, and she has a new legal name, Nkechi Amare Diallo, which means “gift of God” in Ibo. A notable beneficiary of racial fakery is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who claimed that she was of Cherokee Indian ancestry. That helped her land a $430,000 job for a year at diversity-hungry Harvard University as a professor of law. If Diallo and Warren were not leftist, learned college professors and students would condemn their behavior as racial appropriation.
But let’s explore further the idea of freeing oneself from the oppression of biological determinism. There is no better testing ground than America’s colleges, which are at the forefront of transgenderism, for seeing how this might work. How tolerant would college administrators be of conservative male students, if they said that they feel womanish, going into the ladies’ bathroom and showering facilities? Would these men, claiming to be women, be eligible for tryouts for the women’s basketball or field hockey team?
Suppose a college honored the right of its students to free themselves from biological determinism and allowed those with XY chromosomes to play on teams formerly designated as XX teams. I would anticipate a problem competing with other colleges. An unenlightened women’s basketball team might refuse to play against a mixed-chromosome team whose starting five consists of 6-foot-6-inch, 200-pound XYers. The NCAA should have a rule stating that refusal to play a mixed-chromosome team leads to forfeiture of the game. It’s no different from a team of white players refusing to play another because it has black players.
It’s not just college sports that would yield benefits for those escaping biological determinism. What about allowing XYers who claim they are women to compete in the Women’s International Boxing Association? Then there are the Olympics. The men’s fastest 100-meter speed is 9.58 seconds. The women’s record is 10.49 seconds. What about giving XY people a greater chance at winning the gold by permitting them to compete in the women’s event? They could qualify by just swearing that they feel womanish or suffer from gender dysphoria.
You say, “There you go, Williams, picking on colleges again!” I applaud the fact that some colleges are taking a leadership role in fighting biological determinism. Barnard College President Debora Spar wrote: “There was no question that Barnard must reaffirm its mission as a college for women. And there was little debate that trans women should be eligible for admission to Barnard.” With that announcement, Barnard College joined a growing list of women’s colleges — along with Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Mills College and Simmons College — that have updated their admissions policies to take transgender women’s applications into consideration. The question that remains is just how much equality these enlightened colleges will permit between XXers and XYers. Will they sexually integrate all of their facilities? Or will they endeavor to develop the morally repugnant policy of “separate but equal”?