I am not here for Rachel Dolezal.
I am not here for her brand of blackface.
I am not here for the flippant and co-opted use of the term “transracial” to explain her choice to identify as Black.
I am not here for the ability to put down and pick up privilege at will and at the expense of an entire culture.
I am not here for a faux brand of “keeping it real.”
I am not here for the appropriation of color and culture.
So, check it, this week the parents of Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, went on local TV and blew up her spot as a White woman who’s been posing as racially Black for nearly a decade. Apparently, Ms. Dolezal has a special affinity for Black folk, culture, skin, hair, etc, etc.; so much so, that she simply put it on.
No really: She. Put. Black. On.
She put it on like it was a sweater and carried a culture and history around in her handbag. She constructed a back story, you know, “of the struggle,” complete with a fake Black father. She darkened her skin. She permed her hair and/or scored some fabulous curly fro wigs, dreads and braids. She taught Black history. She painted Black and Brown bodies and stories, some she claimed to be autobiographical. She fought the power with a fro and an afro pick.
Oooooh weeee. Wooosaaaaa.
That’s what’s really interesting to me. She’s “committed to the cause,” with a clear interest, personally and academically, in Black life and Black issues; she has a compelling CV dedicated to civil rights, equity and inclusion. I’m here for White allies. I’m here for White folk who take a personal and academic interest in the African diaspora.
And I’m all down for inclusion…authentic inclusion.
But…I can’t with this chick. I cannot.
I’m not sure what her deal is; honestly I don’t even care, but this idea that you can just decide one day that because you like a culture so much that you’ll just…become a member…
But Rachel wasn’t about that life, she wanted a different connection, a different identity, so she just created one. Really girl? Really?
It takes mega-privilege, epic-privilege, next-level kinda privilege and serious cajones to just recreate yourself as a different race, especially since you still could just drop that identity when it suits or benefits you, and you know that folks who you knew “before you were Black” have receipts.
Rachel Dolezal is a liar, plain and simple. She’s co-opted stories like mine, being a Black woman, and actually profited from it. I just can’t!
I am not here for her foolery.
I’m not tripping over her being president of the NAACP—be an ally of any shade and be a leader—I don’t care; I’m tripping that she created a life and a set of experiences out of thin air, simply because she wanted to, because she “felt” Black, because ultimately “we’re all from Africa..”
Race, ethnicity and identity are complicated things; they are. And lots of folks struggle to construct their racial identity, struggle to figure out what and how to acknowledge contributing heritages, struggle to either find a box to fit in or create a new box for themselves. And generally I’m not one to get too huffy on how people identify, but I do have a problem with racial and cultural appropriation, and I believe this is what Ms. Dolezal has engaged in. I’ve got a problem when you construct a whole false reality based on another race and culture. Where’s the respect in that? Imitation isn’t always flattering and putting on Blackness isn’t either.
Ms. Dolezal is expected to address the controversy in what is probably expected to be the most interesting NAACP meeting in recent history. I’m curious about what she will say. I’m curious about how and why she chose Blackness. I’m curious to see how the world responds (especially Black Twitter; I’m guessing the clowning/dragging will continue, just head there and search #AskRachel and commence to cackling).
I’ll watch, ‘cause I’m petty like that. But I’m guessing there is nothing she’s going to come up with that’s going to get drafted to my team.
I’m not claiming Rachel. #nopenopenope
I hope she puts that tube of self-tanner down and unleashes that sew-in and lives as I do, in her own skin, with some visits with a professional somewhere.
I am not here for Rachel Dolezal.