Who knew about a lady by the name of Rachel Dolezal? Well, neither did I until a few days ago. Get this, she ‘pretended’ to be of African- American heritage for many years. Recently she was ‘outed’ by her parents for being a liar.
When I say my response was shock that is an understatement. I didn’t know what to make of it all. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. I mean, why on earth would anyone do that? Now, unsurprisingly she is facing a lot of backlash. There are many questions to ask and issues raised out of which I will try and dissect a few.
The most pertinent issue and one that gives me the greatest concern is that this woman has made a comfortable life for herself off the back of other people’e struggle. The fact that Dolezal was able to become a NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) president of the Spokane chapter is mind boggling. I have no problem with a caucasian taking up such a role. My issue is in the fact that she lied about who she was. Her whole career is formed off the back of lies. You cannot pretend to understand the struggle when you are not on the receiving end. At best you can empathise. So for all her camouflage she still will never know how it is to walk the earth as a black woman. She won’t face the challenges that many other black woman would have faced. In trying to ‘help’ she has done the greatest harm.
Now, some people were now hash tagging #Transracial on Twitter. Um, hello? Some felt that there was no harm in her adopting another race as her own. There is every problem with that. In many respects I feel that race is a social construct. However, to some extent it isn’t. One cannot just wake up and be like “I want to be black/ white today”. Life simply does not work like that. We do not choose our race and we should be proud embrace wherever we are from. Isn’t it ironic how Dolezal was able to keep up this farce for so long yet I could never try and do something like that. Literally.
There is nothing ‘admirable’ about her actions. To make matters worse she claimed her adopted black brother as her son? Who does that? I really feel that she has some psychological issues. I really feel for her parents. How would you feel to see that the child you birthed wants to deny their heritage?
Ms. Dolezal has been suspiciously quiet as of recent and is yet to say anything concrete regarding the whole matter. One thing is for sure; she may have lost out-on both sides and for that she has only herself to blame.