By Ewurama Appiagyei-Dankah
To Members of the Black Community who insist on supporting Rachel Dolezal:
What Rachel Dolezal did was wrong. Entirely and completely wrong.
Her support for the black community is wonderful, and the fact that she is so passionate about the issues facing the black community is something that I, without a doubt, appreciate. However, the fact of the matter is that she could have been as supportive, and possibly been even more useful to our cause, if she had not done so under the guise of blackness.
Many who stand to defend her are raising the fact that the NAACP was founded by white people, which is accurate. However, the founders of the NAACP did not pretend to fully understand the issues that black people in America face. They did not found the organization while pretending to be something they were not; they did it as themselves, and look how much they accomplished, as the NAACP is an organization that still stands today. Rachel Dolezal did not do this.
She led her chapter of the NAACP while acting as a black woman. She portrayed herself as a victim of hate crimes—hate crimes that she appeared to perpetrate. She spoke of issues that she dealt with growing up as a black woman that she did not experience, nor will she ever experience, because she is WHITE.
And at the end of the day, that is, for me, the worst part. Rachel Dolezal can be white. She has the luxury of returning to her whiteness and its accompanying privilege at any moment she desires. She can get rid of her locs and wear her long, blonde hair the way it naturally grows. She can stop getting dark tans and return to her natural complexion.
I do not have the ability to wake up in the morning and rid myself of my melanin. When my braids are taken out, the hair that grows out of my head is as kinky and curly as can be; I cannot get rid of it. When I meet people, the first thing they see is my dark skin, and they may have preconceived ideas about what I am like or how I behave because of nothing more than that.
Rachel can get rid of her blackness and all the baggage that comes with being black at her leisure—we cannot. (And a quick aside for all those making claims that she is “transracial”, can you be transracial? If you are in a situation where your blackness is a problem, can you drop your appearance and say that you are “actually white”, so as to sway someone’s opinion of you? If you tried to tell people you were white, would they believe you? I didn’t think so.)
Additionally, Rachel’s “blackness” and all those claiming that she (or they) were born in the #WrongSkin seems to come from the idea that certain behaviors and personality traits are associated with specific races, which is completely false. Black people, and people of all races, have personalities and characters as varied as the stars. You cannot “feel a certain race” inside, because in asserting that you feel a different race, you assume that
A.) If members of another race could, hypothetically, “feel” a certain way, you know how that feels, and
B.) Members of the other race behave a certain way, which is stereotyping.
There are no feelings or behaviors associated with specific races, and to say that there are is ludicrous.Some are also claiming that a possible reason that she tried to pass for black was that she wanted to see what black women and black people experience in this nation, like the book “Black Like Me”. But that raises the question – why are people so loath to just listen to people who are ACTUALLY black when they talk about their experiences? Why did a book like “Black Like Me”, need to be written by a white person for there to be validation of everything that people who are actually black say? These questions are some that we should think critically about when we laud non-black people for discussing the experiences of black people in our nation.
And don’t get me wrong: I am glad that people of other races are “down with the cause” and want to support the black community in the midst of the struggles that we face. I am happy that they want to help and learn more about stopping anti-blackness. However, I cannot, and will not support a white woman being an ally while deceiving those who she works with and for. By using blackface, which has been and is still used as a way to mock black people in our nation, Rachel undermined everything she tried to do for our cause. She could have done everything without the dishonesty. I cannot and will not support Rachel Dolezal, and nor should you.
Hey my only concern is this. I think you can actually be born and feel like you don’t belong in the skin you were born with. I mean with your logic, transgenders shouldn’t undergo the change because then they are indicating that there is a difference between genders and many people agree there shouldn’t be a stereotype to one gender so why would you strengthen the stereotypes by choosing a different gender because you feel like you fit in with those stereotypes? It can’t be one or the other you know? I am disappointed in Rachel because she lied about… Read more »
“For all of you transphobes weighing in on the Rachel Dolezal controversy/fuckery, saying shit like, “if someone can “change” their gender, why can’t they change their race?”
…um last time I checked gender had nothing to do with ancestry, bloodlines, and lineage so you can miss me with that.
The bitch was in blackface. Not only that, but she invaded institutions, organizations and various other safe-spaces created by and for Black people to free themselves from white supremacy…while in blackface.
There’s nothing more to discuss. ”
(not my words)
Last I checked, 2 men nor 2 women cant make a baby, so get out of here, with that bloodlines comparison, black people run from being black all the time, yall love them crackas, just be glad that Rachel is at least pro black, she disowned her parents it dont get no deeper than that, so I dont wanna here the oh she can run back to her white side either. I see opportunity. The same people mad at rachel, be going t war for nicki minaj, who actually doing damage an nicki minaj isnt pro black. Transphobe? keep making… Read more »
People who feel like they need to change their gender, have a mental disorder.
This was a good read, but Lord knows we could go so much deeper into Dolezal’s situation: 1 ) She told her brother who came to visit her in Wash., “not to blow her cover,” signaling that she knew who she was portraying herself as was false and misleading. 2) she claimed her adopted black brother as her own son without mentioning his adoption. For what, validation? 3) she claimed a certain man as her father without mentioning her actual blood parents Just to name a few. Is it possible that her infatuation with black culture began when her blood… Read more »
I think that my going straight to criticizing her and proclaiming how wrong her acts were, we are forgetting and not mentioning that she is more than likely mentally ill. Mental illnesses are a taboo to talk about in our culture just like race, but it is obvious that she has a disconnect with reality. By identifying as a black women and believing that that is who she truly is while at the same time still trying to promote racial awareness points towards some illness. She is not mocking the race nor undermining the cause intentionally. I understand not supporting… Read more »
Bruce Jenner is also mentally ill, along with alot of so called gays, an thats also taboo to call gays mentally ill, but facts are facts
Sorry, but I don’t think you’ve been following this story comprehensively. View my above comment for more insight and nullification of the “mental illness” angle. She told her own blood brother “don’t blow my cover,” by mentioning their white birth parents. Meaning she knew she was portraying a false image and didn’t want truth of that to get out. That’s not mentally ill, that’s just intentionally deceitful in the 1st degree. Also, everyone claims she’s done sooooo much for the black community but I have yet to see a detailed view of her contributions to the community beyond just living… Read more »
I read your comment and that just showed more so that it is likely to be a mental illness. American society doesn’t teach well what a mental illness can encompasses and it is not until you have a personal relation to a mental ill person that you realize that the signs are you detailed above, are really those of an illness. Someone can be aware of what they are doing such as the don’t blow my cover, yet still be mentally ill. I did not touch on what she did for the black community and I think you are just… Read more »
To the guy “Craig” – The purpose of bringing up bloodlines & ancestry is to juxtapose being transgender & being “transracial.” When a person decides to be transgender, it’s because they feel they can relate more to that gender in some way based on their own behaviors & characteristics. Not to be seen as similar to being so-called “transracial,” which, based on the self-identifiers’ own admission, is thinking they belong to another race based on how they feel about their own appearance & feelings. But, as the blogger stated, there are no certain “feelings” assigned to different races. There’s no… Read more »
I agree with 99% of what you typed BUT I have to mention that -1%. Although I hate this comparison of race and gender in these “transitional” situations, I do see how ppl are easily making these repetitive arguments due to confusing similarity. ****(And this specific portion of the conversation isn’t exclusively about Rachel or any specific transgender individual, speaking in generalities for a second). No man as a woman OR woman as a man can create the natural processes that makes each gender specifically unique; the GENETIC makeup that was the CORE reason for assigning the differences in genders… Read more »
[…] types and behaviors are associated with a specific race. I was reading an article online from MyBlackMatters.com about this, and I don’t think I could explain it any […]
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