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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rachel Dolezal and Transracialism

I am sure that most people have heard the news reports about Rachel Dolezal, former head of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington.  For those who don't know, she resigned over some controversy about her claiming to be Black.  Her parents went to the media with her birth certiificate and said that Rachel is White and that she has been misrepresenting herself for many years.  The fact that her parents are in litigation with her and outed her is quite suspect but that's another story.  I also heard a report a few days ago, where Ms. Dolezal said that she has identified with Black culture since she was a young chlld.  

My take on it is that I don't really care that much about this story.  For one, the NAACP was started by White people.  I suspect that the organization was started partly to keep tabs on Black people and keep them pacified.  So, it is not that much of a shocker that a White person is the head of the NAACP.

Secondly, I don't understand why people are so outraged and offended by this woman claiming Black.  Yeah, she is weird for passing herself off as a Black person but from all indications she did assimilate Black culture.  She attended an HBCU and was married to a Black man for some time.  She worked to protect the rights of Black people as an activist. So, it doesn't seem that there was any mockery and malintentions on her part (But, if I am wrong in this assumption then I stand corrected).  

Thirdly, this concept of "tranracialism" is nothing new to me.  I see it a lot in living in the South.  I see White men and women who claim Black culture ALOT.  They speak so-called Black English Vernacular and "Ebonics" perfectly.  Some of the White women wear braids and cornrows and I have even seen White people with dreadlocked hair and beards.  

When I was a teenager, I met a blonde-haired blue-eyed, White boy who claimed that he was Black. This dude dressed like the typical urban Black teenaged boy at that time and "sounded Black".  He would argue and fight with anyone who challenged his Blackness.  He was raised by Black people and no one could tell this dude that he was not Black.  I saw him several years, ago when I worked at a grocery store.  He has a whole row of gold teeth in his mouth. He told me that he had spent about 5 years in prison for shooting a man who owed him thousands of dollars.  He also said that he was Muslim and legally changed his name to Akheem.  He must have converted to the Nation of Islam religion while in prison. I thought that he was joking but he showed me his drivers license to confirm it. 

I know a White man who told me that he only dates and marries Black women.  He said that he was not attracted to White women at all. And, he was not lying, either.  I had proof that he was telling the truth.  He was married twice to Black women.  I told him that he was off psychologically and he laughed at me.  It's one thing to be attracted to people from other cultures and races, but it is an anomaly to dislike your own people.  

Am I saying that Rachel Dolezal doesn't like her own race?  No. I don't know what motivates her.  I am not a psychiatrist.  I am saying that human beings have very complex thought processes. 

When it comes to  Ms. Dolezal living her life claiming to Black, I don't care that much about it.  There is a question of whether she could truly know what it is like to experience life as a Black American woman.  She has light skin so she has the benefits of White privilege. 
But, nobody is outraged when Black women go and have Asian Remy weave sewn into their hair and wear green contact lenses. 

There are more pressing issues in this country to deal with. I don't think that Rachel Dolezal should be absolved of wrong doing if she lied on job applications or falsified documents, and if there was other misconduct.  We can't know for certain whether she is lying about who she is without DNA tests.  If she did lie, then that speaks volumes about her integrity.  That's a different issue. 

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