The Internet has gone ablaze with the Rachel Dolezal story, which broke last Friday. Let me hit you with the basics: Rachel Dolezal, president of the NAACP chapter for Spokane, Washington, was recently “outed” (if you can call it that) by her parents for pretending to be black. They released her birth certificate for public viewing as well as her genetic makeup, which is German, Czech and Swedish, with “traces” of Native American. In short, Rachel Dolezal is as black as a daffodil.
Here is a clip of her leaving an interview after a reporter grilled her on her racial background:
Yup, Rachel had pretended to be black for several years, even creating a false backstory that she was a victim of numerous hate crimes and passing off her adopted brother as one of her ‘sons’. As if black women’s narratives weren’t erased enough, now we have a white woman claiming a background that she hasn’t experienced, thus invading a space that was not meant for her. I don’t know about you, but I find that incredibly insulting.
Now, no one is mad that Rachel opted to embrace black culture. I know several white people that enjoy black culture, but will never dream of pulling a stunt like this. Neither is anyone up in arms over a white woman working for the NAACP. If I recall correctly, the NAACP welcomes people from all races, and was even created by white people in 1909. What people are upset about is the fact that she deceived so many people – notably those in the black community – to get to the position she was at before resigning from her post yesterday.
Even though she has done positive acts in a leadership position at the NAACP, she still could have done all those without using blackness as a costume. Luvvie wrote an awesome piece on this a couple of days ago. You can check it out here: http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2015/06/about-rachel-dolezal-blackness.html
I mean the woman even posted pictures of her going ‘natural’, and gave a speech about natural hair at an event years ago. A white woman masquerading as a black woman talking to actual black women on their hair? That’s like me talking to the Asian community about their epicanthic folds. If that’s not hijacking a culture that doesn’t belong to you, I don’t know what is.
If I had a pound for every time I heard “if Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a woman, why can’t Rachel be black?”, I’d have enough to buy my dad a Ferrari. Seriously, that line of thought is pure bullsh*t. Lemme give you a couple of reasons why:
1. Caitlyn Jenner (FKA Bruce), isn’t claiming a culture that she doesn’t belong to. Nor did Caitlyn create a fake history about being a woman while she was still living as Bruce. What Rachel has done, however, is invade a space where its people have a REAL history of being marginalised and violated for several centuries. She has created a fake background where she alleged that she was beaten by her parents and constructed a fictitious black father. She has also taken resources that would have been beneficial to ACTUAL black individuals, namely college scholarships at HBCU institutions, and still has the nerve to sue them for ‘discrimination’. Rachel has profited from her appropriation of black culture, in the same way Iggy Azalea is making money rapping in a ‘blaccent’ and claiming she’s “the realest”. The fact that Rachel is still claiming that she’s black is astonishing, in the face of genetic evidence to the contrary, and condemnation on a huge scale. 1+1 equals 2 to the rest of us, but to Rachel Dolezal, 1+1 equals 6.
2. This line of argument is so demeaning and belittling to actual transgender people, as it implies that they’re deceiving society at large. When really, transgender people are living an identity they truly align with, without creating false back stories about being the gender they feel they belong to.
If a black woman says she identifies as white, adopts blue or green contact lenses, bleaches her skin and passes off white relatives as her children, people would be saying she’s a ‘coon’, a ‘self hater’, or even worse, a ‘house negro’. So why am I seeing people (and yes, a few have been black) defend Rachel’s blatant deceit? The black people defending her will be the same ones to call a black woman “self-hating” if she tried the same isht that Rachel Dolezal did. Some black people call black women ‘self-hating’ for wearing weaves, for chrissake.
And don’t even get me started on this whole “transracial” hogwash. I shared my thoughts about it on Facebook yesterday, and that’s all I have to say on the matter.
A good thing to come out of this fiasco is that Twitter gave us plenty of laughs over the past few days. Black Twitter are always on point with the ridicule and jibes at pop culture. My personal favourites include the #AskRachel hashtag, where people ask Rachel tongue in cheek questions, mainly relating to black culture, as a ‘test’ of how black she really ‘is’.
Here are a few highlights:
Gawker also have a quiz titled “Are You Black?”, which is pretty much self-explanatory.
Enough from me. I want to know what you think? Feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter, wherever.
I know I’ve been slack with blog posts (thanks to uni and exams) but they’re gonna be more regular, I promise.
Until next time,