Many by now have read and heard of the news stories concerning one Ms. Rachel Dolezal.
She claimed Black as her race, which enraged many people. Others, on the other hand, were bemused by her parent’s revelations that she is not Black, but that she is instead White.
Ms. Dolezal has resigned her position at the NAACP.
My take on this:
It would have been better if Ms. Dolezal represented her true racial identity. She did not have to lie about being something she was not. She still could have worked in the cause for justice for Black Americans. There have been White people who have done just that, without claiming to be Black:
– Viola Liuzzo
– Rev. James Reeb
– Jonathan Myrick Daniels
– William Lewis Moore
To name just a few.
To claim she was Black is fraud.
I would not have to claim being a Jew, Mayan, or Miao minority in order to fight for justice and democracy for them. My understanding of their culture and history in this world would be a start. Respecting the path they have trod in this world and not co-opting their history and culture would be the utmost respect for them.
Now Ms. Dolezal has resigned her position at the Spokane NAACP, and her claim to being Black has cast aspersions not only on what she has accomplished at the NAACP, but, now doubt has risen as to whether she has really experienced the hate crimes she claims she has suffered.
There are many times when the truth, and nothing but the truth, shall set you free. Misrepresenting, not correcting, and allowing someone’s belief that you are not what you are will either eventually unravel, or at worst, cause the person fear and torment at being discovered in an outright lie. I could no more say that I am Mayan, Jewish or any other group even if I lived in a household of said groups. I can lay no claim to any other racial identity except that which I have a history with. Learning another racial or ethnic group’s language, food types, traditions, and history makes me no more Japanese, Kenyan, Australian Aboriginal or whatever the group may be. I may be able to develop empathy with and for them—-but, I will never be them.
Identity and a racial history is not fluid. Identity and a racial history is not transmitted via osmosis.
Oftentimes, in the end, when many White people claim to be “Black”, it is for gain, financially and socially.
There are times when it is easy for Whites to claim Black, but damn impossible for Blacks to claim White.
That she claimed to be a Black woman and stood to gain from that, but suffered nothing of the burden on being a Black woman, is the greatest slap in the face of all Black American women.
Can she ever be forgiven for her lies?
Will her house of cards come crashing down on what she did while working at the NAACP?
Time will tell.
Black American women have enough hells in this nation without some usurper to an imaginary throne fucking it up for us.