Does Rachel Dolezal have the right to be black?
I find Rachel Dolezal very intriguing. I find the response to her actions depressive. Does Rachel Dolezal who grew up white have the right to be black?
I must preface by stating I am a black man well schooled in the tenets of white supremacy, white privilege, passing, and all that these and other concepts entail. Likewise I am a naturalized Black Caribbean Latino man who has been at any given time been 'dissed' by both black, white, and others because of categorizations. Making this clear I hope will allow what I am saying to be understood in the proper context.
I waited before posting this blog to allow the story to mature some. I wanted to find out more about Rachel Dolezal. Sadly most people did not. We do not know the whole story but the portion that we know of her leads me to believe that those that have been excoriating this woman should take a step back.
Is there some deception in her story relative to her ethnicity? Yes. Is it fatal to her character? No it is not. As oppose to others, she was not attempting to appropriate but participate and to be a 'legitimate' part of the community as she worked within the community. The NAACP representative in the snippet was quite clear about that.
I put a montage of video snippets that implies much. The fervor and rounds Rachel Dolezal's parents are making on TV seems at best hateful. If I were estranged from my daughter, it would be inconceivable for me to go on network TV to excoriate her in the attempt to destroy her professional life. One phrase that her mother said stood out. She said her daughter was driven but not very realistic and rational. The context in which she said it is telling. It is what many children hear from some parents when they are driven outside the scope of what a parent can conceive. Instead of being supportive they are dampening.
Rachel Dolezal went to college in Jackson Mississippi. There she was apparently immersed in the Black community. She must have felt an embrace and comfort within that community. She applied and was accepted to historically black Howard University and have spoken of the positive experiences she had there.
The response from many liberals and the black intelligentsia is allowing Right Wing demagogues an undeserved platform. They show a contrast between how transgenders are accepted yet a white transracial person is being scorned. I know there are blog posts and articles out there attempting to make the technical reasons why they are neither the same or comparable. If we are to believe that the concept of white supremacy and white privilege is real and additionally believe that race is a social construct, then it is important that we explore the possibility that in fact Rachel Dolezal is 'black'.
It will be wonderful when we no longer have to have the guardians of pain of all the different aggrieved groups. That time is not now. However, that transition must be allowed to progress. The response to Rachel Dolezal does little to facilitate that process.
This post is still being revised. Check back later.