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.
June 14th, 2015 at 9:05 pm
I just watched the story on CNN. Wow. Just wow. I mean, I’m kind of speechless. That is seriously pathological. This woman is clearly educated, intelligent and…totally insane. I’m curious to see what she says, too, but I think you’re right, there’s really nothing she can say that will make what she did ok.
June 15th, 2015 at 9:56 am
So, apparently she’s canceled the meeting and folks are threatening to protest and her parents are making the rounds on the AM news shows. SMH. She’s got more than a few issues.
June 14th, 2015 at 9:10 pm
Beautifully stated. Thank you.
June 14th, 2015 at 9:20 pm
What a freakishly bizarre story. It’s so hard to imagine what was going through her mind — I mean, clearly a lot, since as you say she’s built up some powerful credentials and leadership experience over the years. She’s not stupid, so she must have realized on some level what she was doing. I just can’t even imagine what she might have been thinking.
June 15th, 2015 at 9:58 am
Oh she knew, and she had to have known that at some point it would all come out and then what? I’m not sure what allyship wasn’t appealing to her. I just can’t with the lying fake stuff though. That’s an integrity issue.
June 14th, 2015 at 10:53 pm
Girl Bye times 10!
June 15th, 2015 at 10:39 am
You know, this was one of the strangest things ever. While you may want to somehow find the silver lining and say she stood up for people of color and blah blah blah, you hit the nail in the head, she is a liar. A liar who sought power and this is not to be minimized or trifled with, people who do that are disordered and dangerous. I do think at this point, having experienced other liars who pulled outlandish frauds, that she has or will separated from reality and will vehemently insist on her race that it looks like she has to use self-tanner (also have used that to falsify a tan but not race) to help establish her claim. This is a tragic story. I feel bad for all the people who believed in her and helped her rise to her position, I feel bad for the people who needed her or someone in that position to advocate for them.
June 15th, 2015 at 3:09 pm
This one has me scratching my head for sure. On one hand, I understand how people can feel “at home” in cultures that they weren’t born to. On the other hand… this shit is cray cray.
Oddly, I have a Rachel Dolezal in my own life. My sister-in-law really wants to be Puerto Rican- the fathers of her children are Puerto Rican, she cooks the food, learned to speak Spanish. She insists everyone tells her she looks Puerto Rican, even though she is mostly Irish and Scandinavian. (Best part? When I asked her why people say that, she said “Because I wear tight dresses.” I couldn’t make that up if I tried.)
Why is this awkward? BECAUSE I AM PUERTO RICAN. She has taken on the trappings of my culture, “owns it”, but doesn’t get it. It’s like she is playing dress up in my clothes. Personally, I’m not so much offended by her behavior as I am completely baffled by it.
Obviously, there are a lot of differences. What Dolezal has done is calculated, which is the creepiest part to my mind.
June 15th, 2015 at 3:45 pm
I totally get having an affinity, kindred spirit with a culture, but seriously putting it on and wearing it is a whole ‘nother level of ish.
Puerto Rican because she wears tight dresses? Hmmmm, I’m just going to have to toss some holy water on that and let it be. People are special.
June 16th, 2015 at 10:30 am
When I saw that on yahoo last night I was so confused. I didn’t understand why someone would do this. I like what you wrote. She could have just been a white woman who loves her black neighbors, brothers, friends and works for equality. It is still beautiful to see someone of ANY color who loves all races and works for community. We are all different and unique. Sometimes our skin is different. But, we are all PEOPLE created by God to love Him and love Others! I love my Baby Girl more than life! I want to be her forever mama! She happens to be black and I am white. I will always be her “white” mama. I’m not going to try and change that. I will celebrate her culture. I have tried to do that from day one, but I will never fully “know” what it is like to be black or to be her. I will have to pray for guidance, ask my black friends for help, and simply give my baby the best of me as her mama. Thanks for your post! I always like them!
June 16th, 2015 at 2:09 pm
I recently came across a blogger who said shew as AA because she adopted an AA child. I was reading this explanation in the about page and just hit my close tab X. Nope. Nope. Nope!
Thanks! I read everyone of your posts. Hoping for the best outcome for you! Hang in there.
June 16th, 2015 at 11:00 am
Warning…RANT:I think the thing that irritated me the most about this story is that, damn girl! You couldn’t just be an ally?! Would it have killed you, in all your whiteness, to stand up to the injustice that people of color in this country are faced with daily? And you know what probably made her think this ish was ok? The fact that when all shit hit the fan, she could just carry on being her old Caucasian self, without really much repercussion. Now, don’t get me wrong… is she intelligent, well spoken, motivated!? Of course! But seriously, there could have been another way to get the message across that we are all equal. I get angry because back in the day, even if you had ONE DROP of brown/black blood in you, you were no longer considered white. Even if you were 99% white/European/Caucasian, you couldn’t get way with covering yourself with, lets say, baby powder, straight perming your hair, and joining a white supremacist group, which is pretty much the equivalent of what she did. She STRAIGHT UP “put black on”, as if an accessory. Not saying that some of the work she did wans’t valid, but damn Rach! You couldn’t be authentic about it?! It just boils my blood! Using Affirmative Action to get into university, using skin color to move on up in the ranks of the NAACP, and even adopting stories about her black father and the struggle. That ish is unacceptable…go thata way Rachel! I know people are gonna be pissed when i say this but, oh well….white privilege made her think that shit was ok…i just cannot even with this chick!!!
June 16th, 2015 at 2:12 pm
Seriously other level white privilege. That ish is real. Not sure if you saw her interview this morning…this chick is delusional. I just can’t. Lies upon lies, upon lies. She actually double downed on her story. Talking ’bout she passed in order to survive. Chile…She needs to have *all* of the seats in the stadium of life.
June 16th, 2015 at 2:41 pm
I’m gonna have to check it out..what channel was it on?!
June 16th, 2015 at 4:22 pm
People have been comparing her experience to being transgender, but the problem I have with that is she didn’t just start “dressing up” as black – she straight up LIED about her upbringing. She claims her African-American adopted brother is her SON to legitimize her “black” ethnicity. She also claims to be Native American (though her parents say they do have traces of that heritage) and that she grew up hunting with bows and arrows. She also may have committed hate crimes AGAINST HERSELF using the U.S. postal service (a federal crime they couldn’t prove because there were no fingerprints…but there was also no stamp on the hate mail in her P.O. Box…hmmm…)
Transgender people don’t claim that they grew up in a way they didn’t (unless they are also pathological liars like this Rachel). A trans woman doesn’t make up stories about how her daddy always wished she had been born a boy, because a trans woman WAS assigned male at birth. Instead, her story would be about transition, or her story would just start after transition. There is no lying about a background. Plus, men and women grow up in the same families all the time. Usually, people of different races do not grow up together; they are raised in different cultures and have different experiences that Rachel does not understand on the same level. She can empathize with African-Americans and be an ally, but she does not know what it’s like to grow up black, and she lied about that. Therein lies the difference.
Sorry for the rant, I just hate the social media posts like “Bruce Jenner can be a woman, so why do liberals have a problem with this lady saying she’s black? Hypocrites.” It’s not the same. Race and gender are not the same.
June 20th, 2015 at 4:24 am