I think I need acknowledge something that’s been happening because I’ve mostly tried to stay silent, but I’m sick of it. I want to talk about race.
As many of you know, I’m proud as hell to be half Puerto Rican. And those of you who know this also know that I do not look anything other than white white white. I’ve never experienced any of the many, MANY struggles that come with being dark skinned or a minority. And I’ve also felt that I don’t really have much of say in anything that’s been happening in the media lately as a middle class white girl from the suburbs. The recent surge of video evidence of excessive police brutality toward blacks is horrific, and it breaks my heart to think of how much must have gone by undetected before camera phones existed.
However, now this Rachel Dolezal shitstorm kicked up and I’m pissed off all over again. And this time I don’t really want to stay quiet.
There are so many things wrong with what Dolezal did, but the thing that’s most alarming to me is how many people are so quick to defend her actions. It’s truly commendable that she did great things for the Spokane NAACP branch. That’s great, and there’s good to be found in every negative situation. Because regardless of her accomplishments, everything she did could have been achieved as a white woman. There was never a need for her to start darkening her skin and wearing weaves, but she did it anyway so that she could play the role and use it to her advantage.
Her interview with the Today Show was confounding. Dolezal contradicts herself multiple times while skirting the questions and avoids giving any substantial answers. Here’s what I took away from it:
- Dolezal doesn’t put on blackface for a performance. Since her reasons are practical and professional, then it’s acceptable for her to not “stay out of the sun.” Maybe she should trade in her bronzer for some sunscreen.
- She also mentions that for people to believe that she’s Isaiah’s mother, she can’t look like a white woman. It just wouldn’t be “plausible.”
- Albert Wilkerson is her dad. Not her father, her dad. Because people can be dads but not fathers. Even though the person she was speaking with meant her biological father and she knew that, but let’s just move on.
- It was totally okay for her to sue her predominately black graduate school (Howard University) as a white woman because they hurt her feelings.
- The color crayon you use to color in your skin as a child determines your race. So I personally learned from this interview that I must be related to Skeeter Valentine because I’m pretty sure I always drew myself with blue skin.
Am I insane, or is this interview absolute horseshit? So much of it makes NO sense. I was shocked that Matt Lauer didn’t persist or push his points, but I guess with such a hot topic they want to see how long they can drag it out and exploit it for more airtime.
Just a quick sidebar: I’m just going to say now that the term “transracial” is fucking aggravating to hear. Race and gender are ENTIRELY different, and there’s no way that the “struggle” Dolezal has gone through is in any way comparable to that of a transgender person. If I see one more person likening Dolezal to Caitlyn Jenner, I’m going to throw a chair.
Rachel Dolezal wanted to be a martyr, and rather than do so in her own skin, she changed herself and took on the physical appearances of a black woman. She made a mockery of an entire race and belittled the struggle that millions went through and continue to experience. She lied about being on the receiving end of hate crimes and even told her family to not “blow her cover.” This is probably the most extreme example of white privilege I’ve ever seen: A white woman that shifts her race when it’s most convenient and beneficial to her needs, and she somehow has people supporting her through it.
Now there’s even more coming out with the exclusive NBC interview where she finally just says that she’s black and can’t identify as white. She’s black because she raised black children and felt a connection to the culture and knows black people and has curled hair and tanned skin. Because apparently that’s all it takes to be black. Rachel Dolezal is just a self-centered woman who wants to be remembered at whatever cost it takes, changing her story as it conveniences her.
This New York Times piece is well articulated and points out exactly why this whole sham is so ridiculous as well. As for me, I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and let the country know that we just got severely Punk’D because there’s really no other acceptable end to this story.