Rachel Dolezal and the Future of Post-Race Genome Editing

rachel-dolezal

If you keep up with the news, surely you’ve already heard about the recent controversy over Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal and the probability that she’s been pretending to be Black all this time, whom is really Caucasian with Swedish descent.

What I find most interesting about this is the fact that she was able to play it off so convincingly, and subsequently became a legitimate player in the struggle against racial discrimination and for social justice. She’s even recognized as an adjunct professor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University!

Now I’m not here to defend her or to oppose her actions. Nor do I really care what your own personal views are on this matter. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find them interesting – especially those who oppose her actions. I say this because, whether we like it or not, Ms. Dolezal’s actions are merely a primitive method of something that’s going to occur far more often, using much more advanced technologies.

Using genome editing tools, such as CRISPR/Cas9, people in the near future are going to be editing their genome to not only help them become immune to diseases, or to increase bone density, or to be able to breathe underwater during long periods of time, but subsequently will be using said tools to completely alter their entire phenotypical attributes – and, yes, that includes skin color.

We’re reaching into a world that’ll likely be post-gender, post-race, and post-human. Any attributes which may resemble that of gender, or race, or a biological substrate will be nothing more than additive augmentations, similar to a pair of shoes or a pair of glasses in today’s terms. They’ll be fashion statements at the least, and social identities at best.

So if you find Ms. Dolezal’s actions controversial, then I really don’t want to know how you’re going to react to the future 15-20 years from now.

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