When it comes to Rachel Dolezal, that is the only question I have.
Why are we framing important race discussions we should have had years ago around a con-artist?
Why are we so quick to give away Blackness? Why, because she likes to get her hair braided and likes African art, does she automatically get a pass to call herself a Black woman?
After telling Matt Lauer this morning “I identify as Black”, Rachel Dolezal is now on a press-tour that will rival any potential presidential candidate. She followed her Today Show appearance by sitting down with Melissa Harris-Perry. Harris-Perry is an academic, feminist and, until last weekend, a beloved person of Black twitter. But after she posed the question, “Is it possible that she could actually be Black?”, I’ve had to fall back from our admiration of the weekend host.
During the interview, Melissa Harris-Perry asked her point-blank, “Are you a con artist?” The real answer is yes. She of course gave another vague answer with “I don’t think so.” Girl, it’s simple: You either are or you aren’t.
She claims to have always identified with the Black experience since childhood and even drew herself with a brown crayon. One of her most cringe-worthy quotes is below:
“Well it means several things. It means that I have really gone there with the experience in terms of being the mother of two Black sons and really owning what it means to experience and live Blackness. That’s one aspect. Another aspect would be that from a very young age I felt a very spiritually, visceral ,just very instinctual connection with ‘Black is Beautiful.’ You know just the Black experience and wanting to celebrate that as a young child. I didn’t know how to articulate that as a young child.”
She also claims she was socially conditioned to not own those feelings.
The more she opens her mouth, the more I am convinced that she is a fraud. And the more she gets people to believe the lie, the bigger the story gets. All of this leaves me feeling that we are all pawns helping to further this damaging narrative of co-opted, superficial Blackness.
What does she think it takes to understand Blackness? Being passed over a job? Being poor? All of those things aren’t experiences limited to Black people.
She claims that she sued Howard University because she was denied a position due to the fact that she was seven-months pregnant and the hiring manager told her that she was White and her family would be able to support her. She also claims to only have had oatmeal in the cupboard at that time.
She later sued Howard, not based on sexism, but on the basis of race. She said that she didn’t get the position because she was White. Dolezal ultimately lost the lawsuit and pay Howard. The fact that she sued Howard University, lost, then went back home to Spokane and ultimately decided that being Black would yield her more opportunities speaks volumes.
The bottom line is this: Rachel Dolezal is a fraud and she needs to continue being publicly shamed until she faces charges for lying on government forms.