ESPN broadcaster Sage Steele would enjoy far more support if she identified as a man rather than as biracial. She would be as protected as Jaclyn Moore, the Netflix writer and executive who "changed" his gender from man to woman at the end of last year.
Instead, Steele is polarizing and on the brink of losing her job. Meanwhile, Moore's cultural influence has skyrocketed since he announced the rejection of his male biology, became an outspoken trans activist, and subsequently threatened to boycott Netflix over comedian Dave Chappelle's latest stand-up special.
The disparate treatment of Steele and Moore highlights an illogical irony established by the left's cultural gatekeepers.
Society determines race. Individuals determine gender.
Sage Steele is the child of a black father and a white mother. She identifies herself as biracial. She's classified as solely black because in the early 1900s, white supremacists in the South established the "one-drop rule," which stated one drop of black ancestry made a person 100% black.
It's why President Barack Obama is seen as black, despite having a white mother and being raised by his white grandparents. A couple of weeks ago, Steele discussed all of this in a podcast interview with former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler.
"I'm like, 'Well, congratulations to the president.' That's his thing, I think that's fascinating considering his black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him. But hey, you do you. I'm going to do me," Steele responded while explaining why she chooses to classify as mixed-race.
Steele's comments about President Obama and her criticism of ESPN's vaccine mandate caused the network to remove her from the air for a week. Additionally, Steele endured a wave of social media criticism for refusing to adhere to the one-drop rule.
Complicating things is the fact that over time, blackness has expanded from biological markers of ethnic heritage to social markers of partisan ideology. This is what 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones describes as "political blackness." This is why Steele, a noted conservative, failed to generate the type of support Jemele Hill received after ESPN suspended her for calling President Donald Trump a "white supremacist."
In a country that has made an idol of race, Steele's comments were akin to a prophet smashing the people's golden calf. The most common response to people like Steele, Tiger Woods, and others who want to acknowledge their full racial identity is, "No one sees you as biracial — they see you as black." Or they will say more bluntly, "They still see you as a n*****."
Bigots control the identity of melanated Americans. Our actual ancestry is irrelevant. Societal norms overrule Mom and Dad and how someone like Sage Steele sees herself.
This is not the case for Jaclyn Moore. He determines who and what he is. Jack Moore posted a picture of himself on December 16, 2020, in jeans, a jacket, headphones, and a full beard. Four days later, he "came out" as Jaclyn in a picture of himself in lipstick, a dress, a clean-shaven face, and new "she/her" pronouns.
The left demands that every American act as if Jaclyn Moore became a woman on December 20 and should be seen no differently from our mothers, wives, and daughters. In a country that has made a cult out of gender identity, Moore's "transition" is yet another opportunity to make nonbelievers drink the Kool-Aid.
Anyone who disagrees — doctors, parents, talk-show hosts, female athletes — is quickly labeled a hate-filled transphobe and risks banishment from any position of authority. The response to Jaclyn Moore, Caitlyn Jenner, and others who think they are the opposite sex is, "No one can tell you how you should identify."
But we can tell Sage Steele, Tiger Woods, and Barack Obama how they should identify? We can pressure them to disavow one of their parents and half of their lineage?
Why does Jaclyn Moore enjoy a level of freedom, autonomy, and support denied to Sage Steele?
At various points in history, people with discernable African ancestry have been called negro, black, colored, creole, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, high yellow, and numerous other terms in other languages. Assigning children of mixed ethnic background to the "subordinate" group — a practice called hypodescent — was about creating and sustaining social hierarchies for political power.
That has not changed.
A century ago, white supremacists wanted to keep white identity as pure as possible to serve their political interests. Today, people like Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, who believe whiteness is the ultimate privilege, cling to the one-drop rule for political purposes. The more black people and people of color there are, the larger the coalition they can build to seize power and affirm their alleged fight against white supremacy.
Contrast the complicated and fluid dynamics of race with the simple and steady realities of sex. A woman in 2021 would have been called a woman in 1921, 1421, and 21 B.C. Regardless of her occupation, physical appearance, or style of dress, no one would have been confused about who she was.
That has also not changed.
The left claims to "trust the science" when it comes to COVID and climate change, but when it comes to gender, stating a biological fact is considered an act of bigotry. Whether you're grounded in Genesis or genetics, there are only two sexes — male and female. Any anomalous condition like intersexuality is a deviation from that norm. Just because some of the most powerful people in the country think men can get pregnant does not make it true.
Someone who is truly struggling with their body and identity should be treated with compassion. The people demanding that all of society — through law and cultural norms — bend to the will of people with mental health needs should not be given an inch of indulgence. I believe in Christian charity and grace, but I refuse to compromise the truth.
The ultimate issue here is not about mental illness or language. It is a battle for truth. We now live in a time when it is more controversial to say that the 44th president is biracial than it is to say men can get pregnant. Comedians like Dave Chapelle can start the conversation on gender identity, but without a worldview grounded in absolute truth, it's only a matter of time before the tides of consensus become too much for them to navigate.
This is where many Christian pastors have missed the mark. They have fallen victim to the same race idolatry that has captured the culture. They can give dissertations on what white Christian conservatives felt about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but say nothing about codifying gender identity through the Equality Act of 2021.