So, this Rachel Dolezal has finally been outed by her own parents, who revealed recently that she has been lying about being black for decades. Former head of the NAACP in Spokane, it is said that she had done extraordinary work for the civil rights group. Couldn’t she have done just as well without co-opting black identity? Another black writer recently took Dolezal to task, arguing reasonably that blackness was not like a suit of clothes you could put on or take off for your convenience (or profit). I was astounded at the announcement of her true identity, but also dumbfounded when NAACP leaders at first argued that her race had nothing to do with her being hired or with her job performance. In the wake of more serious allegations of fraud (and, perhaps, false reports to police of racist targeting), however, someone must have decided that she was expendable. So, she was “allowed” to resign.
Even liberals, who seem generally unconcerned with ethics or morality (judging by their blind acceptance of Obama’s failed policies and of Hillary’s wholesale corruption), have finally declared their non-approbation of this woman’s antics. Talking heads indicate that white people are generally more bothered by this woman’s imposture than black people are. If true, I find that more confusing than the reasons behind Dolezal’s black-face minstrel show. Why would someone do this? In the century after the Civil War, it was common and understandable when black people who could “pass” for white would do so. It was a matter of survival both personal and familial. What is Dolezal’s excuse? If she had merely wanted to get a frizzy permanent and wear bright colors, to enjoy hip hop music or whatever other stereotypical accoutrements of black life were attractive to her, no one would have batted an eye.
But this theatrical extravaganza of hers was not a reflection of her admiration of black culture; no, this is a deliberate caricature, an attempt to steal black identity for her own nefarious purposes, just as the old minstrel shows did. Her brother told reporters that Rachel had been treated badly while a student at Howard University, a black college. That is when she began this impersonation, according to him, to fit in. I don’t believe it for a minute. I think her choice of college and of Africana studies was in line with her plans from the beginning. People are saying that Dolezal has some sort of psychological problem, and that is one explanation. Another might be that she is a sociopath intent on manufacturing a name for herself, an importance far beyond what she could have created as a midwestern white girl.
She wanted fame; I guess she settled for infamy. After all of the suffering blacks have endured in this country, this may be one of the worst abuses. Your lives don’t matter, your identity doesn’t matter, except as they can be borrowed by a sociopath to cheat her way to fame and fortune. She has betrayed the trust of everyone she has ever worked with or for. She may also be subject to prosecution for committing fraud. Hers is the worst example of “white privilege” I’ve ever seen. One wonders whether she received scholarships or grants because of her claims of being black. Even her former position with the NAACP raises questions—did she displace an equally qualified black woman because of her falsehoods?
Adding more padding for the psychiatrist’s couch are statements of her parents about Dolezal’s attempts to destroy her actual family—she brought a black man to church, identifying him as her “real” father, despite proof that both her parents are white; she married a black man, had a child with him, then divorced him, claiming he was abusive (keeping up those stereotypes!); she whined that her white father had a bullwhip like the ones slave drivers carried and used it to punish her and her siblings (based on their ethnic heritage, whatever that’s supposed to mean); she has even claimed that one of her adoptive brothers is actually her child by a black man (her parents adopted 4 black children about a decade ago); and she has insisted that her siblings keep her “secret” or else.
When reporters asked her for the umpteenth time whether she was black or not, she stared like a zombie, saying that she didn’t understand the question. Another heard Dolezal say that “we all came from Africa originally.” Yeah, what’s a few hundred thousand years? In her resignation message, she stated that she did not want to detract from the work of the NAACP which has been overshadowed by this story (no pun intended). I suspect that overshadowing everyone and everything was exactly what this woman aimed to do. When you are not praiseworthy for your actions, you retreat into a safe spot of identity. She wanted praise for being a black woman. She doesn’t deserve it. She deserves our contempt. Ultimately, though, one wonders if anyone harmed by her imposture will feel pity for this deranged creature. I guess it depends on whether you see her as evil or merely psychotic.