The world really is full-up with great stories- TRUTH is (when you can get ‘it’) much stranger than fiction, and certainly provides superb fodder for thought.
Let me think… (always dangerous)…
Ah yes, this week’s Case In Point: Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane, Washington NAACP administrator who has been masquerading as Black (she prefers this term; Black, not masquerading, so I’ll use both of them throughout).
Okay, so she identifies as Black. Check.
She has done good work for her local NAACP chapter. Check.
Historically the NAACP has had many White people work within their organization, so being White wouldn’t have been a deal-breaker in her job. Check.
And yet I’m still finding fault. (PC for judging)
It’s the lying thing, the deception, that get’s me.
And it was a doozy. A Big Fat Whopper of a Lie. A cataclysmic tsunami of racial ‘spin’.
Here are my specific objections:
1) She’s a feminist?
(Self-stated) and yet she felt she couldn’t do her ‘work’ without copious amounts of bronzer and hair extensions and an entirely fabricated history. She, regardless of her personal racial ‘identification’, felt she needed to look the part and have a plausible story.
If ‘feminism’ at it’s core is about establishing, achieving, and defining equal political, economic, cultural, and personal rights for women, then I think we (women) should at least begin/continue/succeed with our full ‘truth’.
She could have just showed-up, blonde and freckled, and said she felt Black, and had a conversation about how she was the right person for the job. But she didn’t.
I suspect she felt more whole, more authentic, with the costume, and that’s reasonable. But to make-up an entirely fictitious back story?
How does this forward establishing the trust that is needed to fulfill a meaningful Equality?
2) The back story.
Oh boy. As I understand it, she has some kind of custody of her youngest black step-brother and has been telling people that he’s her son, along with her own bi-racial son. I wonder how that’s made him feel? I remember, once, when my father asked me to masquerade as his girlfriend. It didn’t end well.
3) Racist Policies are bad, unless they help you.
If, we can all agree, that you can’t solve racism by creating racist polices (think: Admission Quotas) then how could she have squared her racial discrimination complaint against Howard University, when she was dissed for her art work not being Black enough (she was presenting as White still) and then develop a persona that assisted her in becoming a Black educator that specialized in Africana Studies, but chastised a student’s response for not being authentic because that student was not ethnic enough?
Wow, and Wow, and Wow some more.
Aside from the ethics, My BIG question is, did she receive any monies (scholarships, grants, etc.) that were awarded under false pretenses?
Who did THAT hurt? Who lost their chance?
I have NO problem with her identifying as Black. None. Trans-‘Identification’ is going around a lot lately…
I am, however, deeply disappointed, in any woman who wants to have a seat at the equality-policy-making table and isn’t entirely authentic.
Because, unless you’ve REALLY lived it…
it’s only a narrative.
And she’s quite a story teller.