BLACK IN AMERICA: Rachel Dolezal=Black Face & White Privilege
THE ISSUE: Rachel Dolezal has been exposed as posing as a black woman while being a prominent civil rights leader for the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. Her parents have come forward saying that she has been claiming a race that does not belong to her. Dolezal’s parents are of European decent and her birth certificate states her race as white. Dolezal perpetrated and acted like the reality of black oppression was hers. This is the epitome of appropriation and white privilege in full effect. Her struggle isn’t mine and for her to blatantly act like it is offensive.
THE REALITY: Those that partake in cultural appropriation, ranging from entertainers to everyday high school students, enjoy the benefit of selective inclusivity. They can choose what parts of the culture they want to embrace and do not have to face the everyday realities that those in the culture have to deal with. For black America, it is the stereotypes, stigmas and constant subjugation that come with the burden of brown skin.
THE PROBLEM: It isn’t that Dolezal was a civil rights leader it’s her “black face.” Anyone who knows the history of the civil rights movement realizes that there have always been a variety of races working together to battle injustice. Whites protested and died alongside blacks in marches, Freedom Rides and more, and continue to protest in today’s Black Lives Matter campaign. Instead of taking the normal route Dolezal built her career on a false racial identity. Due to this, any and all work done by her is now marred by her deceit. Not only that her chapter of the NAACP is now under an awful spotlight that may cause many to question their policies and initiatives, in short Dolezal’s scheme has done more harm than good.
THE OUTCOME: So far Dolezal hasn’t responded to media inquiries. The city of Spokane is now looking to see if Dolezal has violated any policies. Some people have started to coin the term “transracial” to justify Dolezal’s duplicity. The idea of being transrace, which is being compared to being transgendered, is one that makes utterly no sense. As for me, as others have also pointed out, I see the sad irony of the entire situation. Dolezal will likely get a book deal, a national tour and Katie Couric interview, and that my friends is white privilege.