Rachel Dolezal: Double Agent or Race Traitor?

(photo by Thomas Robinson)

If The Racial Draft really were a thing I’d want Rachel Dolezal on my team before Clarence Thomas.

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.

Is my hair Black enough for you?

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?

No. You can’t.

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.

If it worked for Caitlyn it can work for Rachel.

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10 thoughts on “Rachel Dolezal: Double Agent or Race Traitor?

  1. Black, after all, is a state of mind, more than a reflection of one’s color. I’ve known some whites to be more black than blacks, and some blacks to be more white than whites.

    • Ideally yes, but the reality is races of people exist and the divide needs to be bridged and people need to understand each other as individuals.

  2. I respect your well written response. Put aside the law, her job, her physical presence, and look at the individual. When lying is a part of an individual’s identity it reflects a deeper need or character flaw. Also, her parents kept silent until they were approached.

    • If lying is an indicator of a major character flaw, then most of us are flawed. Lying is like breathing; we just do it. Climb down off the judgmental horse and look at what she has actually done. She chose to identify with being black, perhaps it began because of her adopted black siblings and her desire to be like them, who knows! Jeff’s post hits on the only significant question–did her choosing to identify as black cause harm or was it illegal? It appears that those who know her feel that she has done a good job in her NAACP position and there is no requirement that one be black in order to belong to or work for the NAACP.

      Btw, race is a social construct. The Human Genome Project definitively determined that genetically speaking human beings don’t break down into nice little categories based on skin color. Race hasn’t always been a part of how we identify ourselves. Persians, Greeks, Romans, Africans, Chinese etc. didn’t identify themselves by skin color but by nationality and homeland. All living humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens, and subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.

      • So because “everybody” does it makes it alright?!?! Really??? Wow!!! That’s why the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Because everybody is doing it DOES NOT make it ok. Wrong is wrong. She lied on her application. How many convicts are fired because they did not disclose they were felons. They were doing a “great” job but lied on their application. It’s not about race, it about ethics.

    • Sandra, if lying is an indicator of a major character flaw, then most of us are flawed. Lying is like breathing; we just do it. Climb down off the judgmental horse and look at what she has actually done. She chose to identify with being black, perhaps it began because of her adopted black siblings and her desire to be like them, who knows! Jeff’s post hits on the only significant question–did her choosing to identify as black cause harm or was it illegal? It appears that those who know her feel that she has done a good job in her NAACP position and there is no requirement that one be black in order to belong to or work for the NAACP.

      Btw, race is a social construct. The Human Genome Project definitively determined that genetically speaking human beings don’t break down into nice little categories based on skin color. Race hasn’t always been a part of how we identify ourselves. Persians, Greeks, Romans, Africans, Chinese etc. didn’t identify themselves by skin color but by nationality and homeland. All living humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens, and subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.

    • Wonder no more about Rachel Dolezal’s purposes. Her Spokane NAACP bio shines a bright light on her life, one that the MSM in the interest of maintaining the controversy couldn’t seem to get around to presenting to the public:

      “….Rachel Dolezal holds her terminal degree from Howard University and is a professor in the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University. Doležal teaches African and African American Art History, African History, African American Culture, Early African American History, Introduction to Race & Culture, The Black Woman’s Struggle, and Intro to Africana Studies at EWU. Her scholarly research focuses on the intersection of race, gender and class in the contemporary African Diaspora with a specific emphasis on Black women in visual culture. Her passion for civil rights is influenced by her years in Mississippi, where she advocated for equal rights and was a leader in community development. She is the former Director of Education at the Human Rights Education Institute, a licensed Diversity Trainer and a Consultant for human rights education and inclusivity in regional schools.

      “During her experience as the Director for the Human Rights Education Institute, Doležal developed programs and curriculum that expanded the annual audience from 3,000 per year to 23,000 per year and integrated Black history into K-12 curriculum. She created world-class exhibits, coordinated cultural events, scheduled keynote speakers, organized panel discussions and began the Young Advocates for Human Rights summer training program. Her efforts were met with opposition by North Idaho white supremacy groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, the Neo Nazis and the Aryan Nations, and at least eight documented hate crimes targeted Doležal and her children during her residency in North Idaho and Spokane.

      “In addition to her role as an educator, Doležal has fourteen years of experience as an exhibiting artist and has taught K-12 & college art lessons in public, private, and non-traditional school settings. Her works have been featured in The Artist’s Magazine, shown in 13 states and displayed at the United Nations’ Headquarters in New York. Doležal began teaching private & group art lessons in 1994 and synthesizes art history, cultural studies, & the creative process when teaching. She believes that the creative process is part of what makes us human and unifies our self-identity with the world around us. Doležal was an instructor in the Art Departments at North Idaho College from 2005-2013 and has taught at Eastern Washington University since 2007.

      “Most recently, Rachel Doležal has been appointed by the Mayor of Spokane to serve as a police commissioner for the Office of the Police Ombudsman, to oversee fairness and equity in law enforcement. She was elected Chair of this commission in December by unanimous vote. Rachel writes weekly for The Inlander as a social commentator and recently contributed an important chapter to a textbook, “The War on Poverty: A Retrospective,” which was published this summer. Doležal was elected President of the Spokane NAACP in November and began her two-year term of service on January 1.

      “Her other experiences include work in a community law office as a legal secretary for a civil rights attorney, African dance, culinary arts, ethnic hair styling, modeling, managing political campaigns, and mothering two sons…”

      **

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