Is it ever ok to pretend to be something you’re not?
“We’re all from the African continent.” says Rachel Dolezal when questioned recently by KXYL on her racial identity.
Well I mean hell, if we’re gonna go down that road then, Hitler is Black, so is Bush, Thatcher and Cameron, but no one really gives much of a dam because to all intents and purposes they look white, identify themselves as white and live their lives happily in predominantly white arenas with their all white families. And herein lies the problem with race, no matter where you are from, however much Black, White, Brown and blue you have in you people will make up their own minds based on their perceptions and social constructs, on what race you really are - prompting the question “No where are you really from?” which those who appear racially ambiguous are no doubt, all too familiar with.
Now this lady is the leader the Washington chapter of NAACP, and she’s also a part-time African American Studies professor at Eastern Washington University, teaching a class called “The Black Woman’s Struggle.” - I almost fell over myself reading that last bit, I don’t think irony is the right word here, that suggests a juxtaposition with an opposing idea that often produces humour - I think the juxtaposition comes from the “Hell No!” screaming in my head, alongside the tears of laughter at the sheer ridiculousness of the whole affair. No, I think the right word here (to call upon my Jamaican ancestry) is “Facety” - accompanied by a large ‘kiss of the teeth’ and a comment about babylon and reparations… but seriously, its both embarrassing, insulting as well as highly amusing in equal measure.
This is not the first time that people have attempted to ‘pass’, we only have to look back recent history and there are countless stories of African American’s passing for white, but the difference being they did it to try and acquire some of the white privilege and rights that were not available to Black people during this time, exchanging ones racial identity for social currency and mobility. But this lady for whatever reason felt the need to identify as Black to further her career and ‘special interest’ in Black people? I guess the only redeeming feature is that unlike Iggy Azalea, and other white people who bite Black culture, she at least has engaged with our struggles and tried to understand our oppression - but seriously lady, you just come off like ‘Boss Lady’ from Awkward Black Girl.