The Rachel Dolezal Controversy: Less Answers, More Questions

Written by Ollie

NOTE TO READER Please read the list below before continuing with this article…or hurt feelings may ensue. END NOTE

People who do not have a RIGHT to be in an uproar about the Rachel Dolezal situation:

  • People (white, black, brown, Puerto Rican, Haitian, talking cow, sausage with a soul…all “TCG” characteristics and beyond qualify) who use derogatory terms regarding members of the black American community, especially when he or she allows their “not-black” friends and family members to participate in the same type of behavior without correction.

  • People more concerned with expressing their blackness through Forever 21 African-looking garb and jewelry, than actually taking an active, supportive and productive role in their local, national and abroad communities.
  • People who claim to take an active, supportive and productive role in their community because they participate in an annual food walk, or sometime tutor their cousin, or only buy from black-owned businesses.
  • People who feel Dolezal misrepresented herself and blanched her integrity, yet, they embellish their rΓ©sumΓ©, use makeup, borrow clothes/accessories/property from others, use filters via social media and/or illegally download music, movies and television shows.

Now, for those of you who do not fall into any of the previously listed categories, or those who do, but have tough skin, here we go:

Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights leader and activist, the former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, W.A., who resigned on her own accord, was accusedΒ of being a white American woman posing as a black American woman.

Since the time of this blog publication, Dolezal has given an interview where she said she “identifies as black.”

When asked by an NBC reporter, “When did you start […] deceiving people and telling them you were black when you knew their questions were pointed in a different direction…?”

Dolezal responded: “…it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of ‘are you black or white?'”

As the interview proceeds, Dolezal’s past resurfaces in the form of her identifying as black as a toddler; being shown a picture of her teenage self with blonde hair and blue eyes and suing her alma mater Howard University for discrimination while identifying as a white woman.

At the end of the interview, Dolezal is asked how her two sons would answer if asked whether she is a black woman or a [white] woman.

Dolezal responded: “Well, I actually was talking to one of my sons yesterday, and he said ‘Mom, racially, you’re human, and culturally, you’re black.’ And, you know, so, we’ve had these conversations over the years and I do know that they support the way that I identify and they support me.”

I am not excusing Dolezal’s egregious behavior as palatable.

I am not excusing the media outlet coverage to Dolezal as imperative.

I am not excusing the black American reactions to Dolezal as unfounded.

This is obviously not a common case, so I do not expect one across-the-board consensus involving right or wrong.

I leave with this question:

How have Dolezal’s actions personally affected you, your family members or your friends in such a negative way, you focus on her choice to identify as a black woman, after being born a white woman, without knowing what makes you black beyond skin color and social construct…and if knowing the latter, how can you continue to justify your behavior?


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