Rachel Dolezal is white, full stop. Her whiteness is a fact. Both her parents are white and her orange tan and permed fizzy hair cannot change it. She maintains she is black. Rachel Dolezal cannot speak of racism as a black woman. However, as I predicted she has been given a book deal to do just that because being white means she can pretend to be black. Even the Guardian appears to be supporting her blackface. Rachel’s blackface performance is a continuing part of white history (see post). I was born black, and if I tried to call myself white, complete with skin bleaching and straightened blond hair, I would probably be locked up for insanity or a criminal offence. Perhaps both! Rachel Dolezal’s shenanigans are a prime example of white privilege and racism. Rachel’s mockery of black women is rewarded and her fraudulent conduct ignored.
According to the Guardian Rachel ‘was accused of misrepresenting herself as black last year’. Rachel admitted that she had been parading as a black woman. It was not an accusation. The story broke when her white parents outed her. However, living in a society where white people make the rules, the Guardian can afford to use words like ‘accused’ as if it was an allegation or a question and not a fact. Rachel has stated on the record that she feels black. I find this amazing. One cannot feel Black. I am Black, and I cannot tell you what being black feels like. Each black person is an individual human being who comes with their own identity and culture, joys and pains. We are politically Black; we share a history of oppression. We are not a nation. I can tell you how racism1 has made me feel during my life journey, but Black people are not a homogenous mass. Dare I say, such assumptions are racist.
There are millions of black women who have lived the black experience. It was not an option as it is with Rachel. These women can talk about childhood to womanhood experiences of being Black. There is a pain and an invisibility with being a black woman. In the USA ‘In 2014, a 12-year-old girl faced expulsion and criminal charges after writing “hi” on a locker room wall of her Georgia middle school, and a Detroit honors (sic) student was suspended for her entire senior year for accidently bringing a pocketknife to a football game’2. There is a crisis with black females, but it is not making the headlines, whereas blackface Rachel is.
Rachel has taken cultural appropriation to a whole new level; she’s doing it in blackface, demanding recognition and damn she is getting it. Once again, like her work in the NAACP and teaching ‘African American Culture’ and ‘The Black Woman’s Struggle’, Rachel is taking an opportunity from black women. I think there are far more qualified women to address the issue of race. Just from the top of my head there is Femininsta Jones, Roxanne Gay, Grace Amey-Obeng, Tressie McMillan Cottom and Marguerite Matthews to name a few. I am not suggesting for one moment that a white woman could not work as a civil rights activist at the NAACP or teach African American Culture at a university. However, Rachel achieved her posts by performing blackface. To my understanding this is fraud, and she has not been prosecuted. She passed off a black man, a stranger, as her father, and she adopted a sibling as her son. There are also reports that she has faked a hate crime against herself. If Rachel were black, I would lay odds on a prosecution.
I live in a white world, but I cannot talk of a white experience. I live in man’s world, and I cannot speak of a male experience. I can speak of sexism and racism. It is a mockery that a white woman in blackface is given a publishing deal to consider black race issues. It is the equivalent of white people controlling the race debate. I believe this is where the race problem started. In 1638 a group of white people (the Colony Council 1638) pronounced that “Neither the existing Black population, their descendants, nor any other Blacks shall be permitted to enjoy the fruits of White society.” Before that Black Africans who arrived in America mixed with Europeans comfortably.
Wow, I ask myself how this national spectacle Rachel has managed to get herself even a low-level book deal? There is something wrong with this picture, and it’s simply white privilege and racism at work.
p.s. Black women do not try this stunt, you will be sectioned !
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- Racism occurs in a system where the major race/dominant grop (usually based on skin tone) uses its influence and power to oppression or disadvantage the minority. It is sometimes deliberate, and it is sometimes accidental either way, it is ugly and offensive. ↩
- Black Girls Matter, African American Policy Forum. ↩