Chalked across a blackboard on the first day of my college course titled "Philosophy of Race and Gender" was the phrase, presented to impressionable students as unimpeachable fact, "Race is a social construct."
Vividly, I remember my professor devoting the earliest portion of her first lecture to justifying that claim, concluding it was a necessary precept for participating in fact-based conversations on race the rest of the semester.
In fact, that's a precept that governs much of the conversations on those topics conducted by the academic Left these days.
It's also the reason that Rachel Dolezal is the last best hope for American liberalism.
To conservatives, that notion may sound ridiculous. The former NAACP leader, back in the media with a new memoir released this week, is often touted as a symbol of everything wrong with the modern Left. But isn't that why she's best positioned to fix it?
Truthfully, Dolezal is the logical conclusion of contemporary liberalism, incarnate in flesh and blood.
For all the esoteric theorizing on social construction, Dolezal challenges liberals to confront the reality of that rhetoric. And they don't like it.
In a world where race and gender are social constructs, and the biological roots of both are perceived as less influential than their cultural dictates, Dolezal simply chooses to live by that philosophy. If race can be socially constructed, people are able to selectively identify from the roster of social constructions, floating through space like a virtual buffet, entirely severed from their chains to biology.
She is playing by the rules the academic Left created.
Interestingly enough, when Bruce Jenner transitioned to Caitlyn, the authenticity of his alleged womanhood was rarely questioned by the Left. Now that Dolezal, who has herself made this comparison, claims to be "transracial," doing with race exactly what Jenner (and many others) did with gender, the authenticity of that transition is denied. It is a glaring inconsistency.
One, surprisingly, liberals are slowly beginning to confront.
In January, Rutgers professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies Brittney Cooper wrote on a feminist website, "If the Rachel Dolezal moment, laughable and ridiculous as it was, should have taught us anything – it's that we actually do need to refine our categories and thinking about the ways race and gender identity function."
"Why is it that our gender identity is what we say it is, is what we feel it to be, while our race is structurally determined, and not simply a matter of our own choices?" Cooper asked.
This is an obvious question conservatives have broached for years, earning the wrath of liberal arts grads drunk on Judith Butler essays simply for raising an issue the movement of so-called progress is only now progressing to address.
Today, the only thing standing between the Left and its own destruction are the Rachel Dolezals of the world, challenging liberals to confront the unforeseen consequences of their philosophical incoherence.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.