Rachel Dolezal Made Me Realize How Black I Am, And How Black She Isn't
Former NAACP president of the Spokane chapter, Rachel Dolezal, has drummed up such a narrative so ridiculous and provocative that it’s, at first, downright hilarious.
The absurd notion a 37-year-old woman of Czech and German descent attempted to fool folks into believing she was black was, in fact, so funny it spurred #AskRachel -- a hashtag birthed to poke fun at Dolezal.
But it also unearthed a myriad of intimately cultural aspects unique to the African American experience.
Surfacing merely hours after her parents, Ruthann and Larry Dolezal, outed her as a white woman posing as black, #AskRachel prompted an Internet-style black family reunion that doubled as a sort of pop quiz, asking questions only the blackest person could answer with confidence.
Which one is the kitchen? #AskRachel pic.twitter.com/gFXrRuf3ad — DALAYYYY (@TheToast2015) June 12, 2015
I spent a lengthy amount of time I'd rather not admit to reading up on the caricature Dolezal created, scrolling through tweets and “confirming” my blackness with a certain ease and laughter.
Reading rumors of her allegedly sending racially-charged hate mail to herself, suing a historically black college (Howard University) and claiming her black, adopted siblings as her own children seem nothing more to me than a funny story, one that'd find its way to the media trash bin quicker than a Jason Derulo record.
However, the jokes and watercooler chatter came to a halt this morning.
Dolezal sat down with Matt Lauer on “The Today Show" and further proved she’s completely lost touch with reality. Unlike her previous media questioning, where she skirted questions like “Is your father black?,” during this segment, she finally broke her silence:
"I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon,” she said of her dealings with race as a child. “I identify as black.”
She continued by saying her sons "support" her racial fantasy. "One of my sons yesterday (told me), 'Mom, racially, you're human and culturally, you're black.'"
That's when the entire spectacle became less "ha ha" and more "hell no."
Dolezal’s self-created fiction did more than interrupt Game 3 of the 2015 NBA Finals for a couple #BlackTwitter jokes. She’s successfully become real-life blackface cloaked in bronzer, a perm and defended by cultural appropriators everywhere with that whole “transracial” BS.
What's worse: Rachel can potentially collect a huge payout peddling the black narrative, which doesn't in any way belong to her.
And to that, I suck my teeth. Loudly. (And can we please, for the love of all things logical, stop comparing Dolezal to Caitlyn Jenner?)
For Rachel to boldly and publicly claim another race, in the face of facts that prove the complete opposite, no longer makes her behavior stand-up comedy fodder. It's disrespectful.
Her lack of transparency, constant untruths and inability to see how her fairytale-like stunts actually negate the activist work she’s boasted over the years. Even worse, it's sparked conversations about whether a person can change their race IRL.
Let me just tell you now: The answer is no.
Could Rachel very well correctly answer many of the #AskRachel questions, if prompted? Sure. The illest hip-hop fan could properly score high on the informal, So You Think You're Black? questionnaire. But to truly understand and respect an entire culture, it takes more than a handful of ridiculously made-up stories and makeup.
Bottom line: Rachel. Girl. You didn't have to lie to kick it with our culture. Just understand you ain’t black and the joke's on you.