Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fanciful Identity Politics

"I identify as black [and] take exception [to claims of deception]."
"I really don't see why they're in such a rush to whitewash some of the work I have done, who I am, how I have identified."
"I certainly don't stay out of the sun [explaining her darker complexion than at birth]. I also don't ... put on blackface as a performance. I have a huge issue with blackface."
"This is not some freak Birth of a Nation mockery blackface performance. This is a very real, connected level."
"[I never corrected that [being spoken of as 'transracial', 'biracial', 'a black woman'. It's more complex than being true or false in that particular instance."
Rachel Dolezai, 37, Spokane, Washington
Rachel Dolezal, 37, was the head of the local chapter of the NAACP and has identified herself as African-American. But her Montana birth certificate says she was born to two people who say they are Caucasian. She is seen as a teenager at left in an old family photo and in a more recent picture from Eastern Washington University, where she teaches classes related to African-American culture.
Rachel Dolezai, White/Black

As delusional fixations go, this one was a dilly. It's possible that Rachel Dolezal's parents would have attempted to dissuade her from inventing her racial identity to reflect an inheritance that was never hers, and perhaps because they might have, or because she was so invested in her creative identity she strove to prevent them from doing just that, she parted company with them.

The child abandoning its parents, for invented parentage. It's a common enough scenario when that child is perhaps five years of age, but at the age of 37 highly unusual, taken to that degree and for that purpose. But then, perhaps the parents inadvertently confused the issue in the mind of a woman who was yet a child when they introduced into their family adoptees who were Black, while they were of Caucasian heritage with a tad of American Indian.

Black simply appealed to Rachel Dolezal. Nuanced black does appeal to many people who are not black. For whites, it connotes a life of leisure where one lazes in the sun and a golden tan results, signifying health and wealth and beauty. But that kind of superficial identification was obviously not what this woman sought. She sought to be noticed for her 'blackness' while not being black, so she gave nature a little help to display a genetic inheritance that had been denied her, of dark skin and dark, curly hair.

A powerful yearning to be what she was not motivated the woman to discard her birth identity and take on another one, one that required defence and there is no greater defence than offence. Taking offensive action to derail the nasty rejection of a majority white community against a sinned-against black community would garner her the admiration and attention for fearless commitment that she obviously craved.

She would leave behind in faded memory her whiteness, embrace the Indian inheritance as a notable benefit for they too represent an oppressed people, so linking the Native American speck within her genetic strain with the black she so desired resulted in just the right combination; A Black-Indian woman; what a burden to carry in a society that struggles to recall that there is only one human race with variations within, and that in theory at the very least, all peoples are born equal, albeit not with equal opportunities granted them by fate.

Is this a troubled woman? Hate mail was evidence that she had a right to notify police that she was a victim of hate crime, except for the revelation that she was the sender and receiver, both. Only a dozen years earlier she had charged black Howard University with discrimination for viewing her unequal to their traditions, as a white woman. She married a black man, divorced the black man. She portrayed one of the adopted black children in her parents' family as her black son. She lied about her parentage to be accepted on the Spokane, Washington police board.

A family photo shows Dolezal's family at her wedding reception in Jackson, Mississippi, on May 21, 2000. Her family is racially mixed; four of her adopted siblings are black. She and her husband, Kevin, are standing between her parents. Her grandparents are at right and her adopted siblings are in the front row.
May 2000, Jackson Mississippi wedding reception; Rachel Dolezai and her parents, grandparents and adopted black Dolezai children -- Photo CNN

This is the pathetic machinations of a sad and troubled woman who discovered her purpose in life through an invented persona and parentage. She was obviously wedded to the idea of martyrdom with the cult of victimhood holding enormous appeal. She rejected white privilege for black suffering. She could lecture on the suffering of blacks and find acceptance and admiration in academia where colonialist oppression of the past lives on in today's universities as self-loathing leading to championing of perceived underdogs.

It might have been easier for this woman to pass as Jewish, given her physical birth attributes. Not a good idea, given the status of Israel as an 'apartheid' state oppressing Palestinians, the accepted and embraced cult linked to anti-Semitism in academia today. The Spokane, Washington branch of the NAACP, to their credit, stood by the woman, insisting that one needn't be born black to be effective in their organization, sharing a common goal. But then, there were those who disagreed, and she 'stepped down' from her role as president of the local NAACP.

Her position as a part-time African studies lecturer in African-American culture at Eastern Washington University is now lost to her. She is being investigated by the city's Ethics Commission respecting fabrications appearing on her application for appointment to Spokane's police oversight board. Her job as a free-lance newspaper columnist is forfeit. Time to reinvent herself.

Matt Lauer interviews Dolezal on the "Today" show on Tuesday, June 16. Dolezal revealed that <a href="" target="_blank">she started identifying as black</a> around age 5, when she would draw self-portraits with a brown crayon. She told Lauer she "takes exception" to the contention that she tried to deceive people.
"Today" show interview with Matt Lauer, June 16, 2015 -- CNN

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