People are rarely born so fortunate that they could not have been born more fortunate still. Can anyone not at some time have wished to possess the good fortune or qualities of someone else? Yet in the end we must all make do with the hand that we have been dealt by dna and circumstance. Our freedom lies in how we make do.

There are some, however, who never accept such limitations because they see all limitation itself as necessarily a denial rather than a precondition of freedom. Why, they protest, should they have been born as they were and are, when they would really rather have been born otherwise than they were and are? A few among them not only fantasize about a choice that they could have exercised before birth, but actually try to live it out as if they had actually made it.

Among the latter is Rachel Doležal,...


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