During the Rachel Dolezal debacle, like everyone else, I viewed the situation with confusion, perplexity and saw the hilarity behind the sad saga. If you’ve been living in a cave and missed the controversy, or worse, you don’t have Internet or cable, then allegedly, Rachel is a white woman who gained and kept her position as the Spokane NAACP leader by pretending to be black for over a decade. During all the discussions regarding her actions I remained relatively neutral on the subject until someone asked the question on their Facebook page whether she should keep her job at the NAACP or not. Out of nowhere this opinion of mine leapt out:
Rachel could have done all her good works as a white woman. Instead she lived a life of permanent black face. My hair, my color and my roots are not something I can put on and take off as the mood strikes. Being black means that I live with my history, my culture and my childhood as a person of color every time I walk out the door. I can’t pay for it via a layaway plan or by installments. Accepting grants for people of color, giving and getting paid to speak on issues of race and getting scholarships meant for people of color is criminal and unacceptable. She doesn’t get a pass for her good intentions. Our actions and not only our intentions count and Rachel, whether she is a exceptional leader and lover of all things black, is a liar, a cheater and a fraud and her character is in question.
Columbus may have had good intentions when he first spied the Natives in the New World. Old school religious folks may have had good intentions when they gathered up witches and pagans and burned them at the stake. America may have had good intentions when it sought to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. Are our intentions and good works the only things that matter? Paul Bundy (serial killer) once volunteered at the suicide hotline I’m told. I’m sure his intentions were good, until of course, when they were bad. I don’t hate Rachel for wanting to do good. I dislike her actions and her deception. Race is a social construct they say. Well it is until I go into a high-end store and linger in the aisle too long. I can’t pretend to be white when it suits me so she doesn’t get to pretend to be me. I hope she gets the psychiatric help she needs.
I guess I had an opinion after all.
I want to #AskRachel how it felt when she was a child the first time the N word was used against her as a whip that struck. Was it then during her white years as a person of privilege that she decided that race was fluid and nothing more than a social construct?