You know…I wasn’t going to say anything about this whole Rachel Dolezal controversy. My initial reaction to her and her story was that of pity. I pitied her for feeling she needed to “become” a black woman in spite of her not being one. I pitied her for having the type of family relationship that lead her parents to publicly out her as someone posing as a black woman.
I felt bad for her. I didn’t agree with what she done but the pity outweighed any anger I may have felt.
But as more time has passed and I’ve had an opportunity to think on it further (largely because so many people are still talking about her), I’ve found my anger. I’m angry with her for having the audacity to think that she had the right to “pretend” to be a facsimile of a black woman by wrapping herself in a small facet of black culture.
The nerve of her to believe that just by going to an HBCU, darkening her skin and slapping on a kinky looking wig it was enough to put her on the path to blackness. So much so that she began to speak and act as if she were a representative of us. Oh and just because you teach Africana Studies doesn’t make you an expert in all things black. Being black is an experience that can’t be thoroughly explained in a book. So no matter how many books you read, movies you watch or nappy wigs you wear, you can’t go from white to black.
I’m giving her the side eye for thinking that she could don these surface elements of black culture and think they gave her the right to be black. They don’t.
I’m giving the side eye to the black people that are speaking in favor of her and her choices. It doesn’t matter what she’s done for the community where she lives. She did it under the guise of deception. That’s not OK. And for you to speak out in support of her is not OK either.
I don’t care if we discover that one of her ancestors had a relationship with a black person and she’s 1/128th black. Rachel Dolezal does not get to be black. She used pieces of who I am to her own benefit and I don’t respect that. So, no. She does not get to “feel” more black and therefore be black. She is a white woman who needs to live her life as such.
Co-opting someone’s culture does not make you transracial. It makes you arrogant and disrespectful. She didn’t need to be black to do the work she did. So she doesn’t get to be black because of it.
There needs to be way more righteous indignation about her and her choice to put on elements of blackness like an outfit and parade around in them. This is not the time for diplomacy.