rachel-dolezal

There should be zero capes flying for Rachel Dolezal.

Not on an academic level for us to study why one particular white woman who wanted to identify herself as black. Not on a level of letting her pass because she’s done plenty of work for African-Americans as head of her chapter of the NAACP. Damn sure not on a level of “let her be her” when masquerading as a black woman with all of the privilege of a white woman has no benefit for a black woman if the roles were reversed. We’ve apparently stepped into the “Twilight Zone” with Dolezal — a group of people, mostly esteemed black men attempting to shield her from the brunt of backlash … to uphold her “accomplishments”. Those same capes and questions about the complexities of black women who suffer the same aren’t asked. Why Dolezal?

I have questions.

If one is merely arguing for Dolezal operating a massive con to take white privilege to highest definition ever then ask why did she sue Howard University, the historically black college and university she graduated from that she sued for discrimination in 2002? Why was the basis of her suit a claim that she had been denied access to scholarship funds due to being a white woman? Why did she have to essentially act like Mindy Kailing’s brother who pretended to be black in order to get into medical school? Why would the NAACP back Dolezal with a cloak of harmony knowing that their staunchest white supporters during their founding … never lied about who they really were?

The NAACP was founded by a mix of individuals which included names like Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois and more. Another founder was William English Walling, a white man that devoted his career and put his own life at risk to work for civil justice. So with a history of blacks and whites working together for the advancement of minorities, why did she lie? I find it braver, and far more valuable, to fight as the white woman she actually is, the same as the founders did before her.

Rachael Dolezal, a woman who literally took the film Single White Female and applied it to nearly every black female she’s ever seen in order to pass is a classic case of the White Female Fragility Complex. A stereotypical damsel in distress labeled as confused and hurt who needs the support of those who barely decide to stand up for those who stand up for them the loudest. And it’s perfectly fine because as a white woman in America, her voice and story have largely become daytime television fodder. She’s clocked in three interviews on major networks, with no sign of letting up. She’s going to be rich at the end of this, positioned far better than her position as an Africana studies teacher and former head of an NAACP chapter would have ever allowed her.

Flip the story of a black woman trying to pass in white America and it’s a laughable issue that stays laughable and doesn’t grow legs. Technically through mannerisms, speech and upward mobility, one may label that black woman trying to pass a “traitor” but that’s nonsense. The term cultural appropriation has been tossed around so much that the reality of its existence is often ignored. As a black woman, I don’t have the luxury of taking off a wig when things get too real. I don’t get to pick and choose when I experience racism, sexism or any other stigma attached to being a minority woman in America. If she wants to fight against injustice I think that’s incredible, she doesn’t have pretend to be a black woman to do it though.

It’s time to let Rachel Dolezal go. Because at the end of this grand social experiment, all that will be left is her standing by her claims of identifying as a black woman and actual black women looking for their own answers.