I read this story elsewhere and when I finished I had one question and one question only.
Is Dolezal doing a good job? If she is, then what’s the rumpus?
Oh sure, I can imagine there are many reasons why the head of a NAACP chapter should be Black instead of passing for Black, but the only question worth asking and answering is “Is she doing her job?” Not whether she’s really Black or should the NAACP have Whites in prominent leadership positions. The organization has always been racially diverse and inclusive. Dolezal took it to an extreme.
When Walter White became the organization’s first Executive Secretary in 1916, some wondered why a dude with blonde hair and blue eyes was running a civil rights organization for colored people. Turns out White wasn’t White, but Black. The NAACP has never been exclusively for Blacks only. The national office may have to address this matter to quell the controversy.
She wouldn’t be the first White person to long for an identity other than the one she was born with to get lost in a romance with Black culture. Deceitful? Probably. Deceptive? Certainly. Harmful? Illegal? If so, no one has made the case.
The most troubling thing about Dolezal are the misrepresentations and lies she came up with to mask her passing for Black. This seems to me to be more of an ugly family matter than a willful attempt to deceive, but unless she has broken the law, I fail to see why Dolezal should be faulted for being a White woman concerned about fighting discrimination against People of Color.
The takeaway is I’m getting is transgender is okay for White men but transethnic is not okay for White women. Race is an “artificial concept” that doesn’t matter is what the Right wingers love to say. Or at least it is right up until the time you try to transcend it. Assimilate! That is what Blacks are told they need to do. Assimilate into a White culture that doesn’t want you, resent you, and says you only got there through an affirmative action program. Woe betide anyone who forgets assimilation is strictly an “on” ramp into the White world and never an “off” ramp.
Where was all this offense and indignity about cultural appropriation when Iggy Azalea got off the boat became the latest non-Black star to get rich and die tryin’ by Outblacking the Black Folk (hello, Nikki Minaj. Little Richard would like to talk to you about Pat Boone). It wasn’t too long everyone seemed to think Miley Cyrus invented a new dance move in twerking? Is it okay if White people bite from Black culture and cash in on it as long as they don’t go too far and start thinking they ARE Black?
It may be delusional when a White woman working for the NAACP begins to identifies with Blacks so much she starts passing herself off as Black, but since she seems to be helping and not hurting I say “thanks” for the help. That’s the part that seems hardest for some both White and Black to wrap their heads around. Why would anyone go to such lengths to “be” Black? Of course Dolezal built a house of cards on sand in the middle of a hurricane and now that it’s coming down around her ears (in no small part due to the malicious actions of her family), there’s a lot of pleasure being taken by outsiders as her lies and fabrications are exposed.
It there is no evidence Dolezal broke any laws, what’s the controversy. Perhaps when she speaks publicly on Tuesday an admission may be forthcoming, but if fudging an employment application is a crime, there’s gonna be a lot of liars doing time in the slammer.
Something Dr. King said about the content of our character mattering more than the color of our skin seems relevant right about now.