3 years ago1,000+ Views
Rachel Dolezal, the president of Spokane, Washington's NAACP chapter was exposed as creating an African American identity, and was born to white parents. She was set to speak today, but decided to wait to make a statement. Her parents came forward on Thursday and said that their daughter has been pretending to be African-American. This opened up a whole discussion about race and identity.
And the main question coming out of this is: Can we racial identity ourselves?
Some people participating in the discussion have spoken out and said it’s ok. Stating that if Dolezal identifies as African American, then she should be able to boast that ethnicity. Some even compared it to the situation of Caitlyn Jenner.
Others, however really don’t like this comparison. Self-identifying as another race is wrong. As Dolezal self-identified on a volunteer application as “African American,” she is being faced with legal issues. But her brother also came forward and compared her lie to “black face.”
This discussion is bring out some good points that is worth really talking about.
Can we compare ethnicity and race with the gender spectrum? What if a person identifies with the race they don’t belong to? Is it ever fair for someone to pretend they are a different race?
I would be interested to see what Rachel’s statement will be about, and how NAACP leaders deal with this controversy.
@nicolejb I also wondered if she struggled with the idea that she could be a supporter without actually having to be African American? I mean, I know there are a lot of conflicting opinions on whether you can "truly understand the plight" when it comes to racism and these kind of complicated issues unless you are a part of the group being affected. I feel like it's possible that she knew she would also be viewed as "not really understanding" even with everything she was doing....I don't know! It's interesting.
Just reading a lot about this it seems like African American identity was a big part of her life (her adoptive brothers are African American, she got a scholarship at a traditional African American school that she went to, she even taught Africana studies). I wonder how all of this played into her decided she wanted to fake it. @hikaymm @jeff4122
@jeff4122 Your point is kind of funny, actually. Did you know that to be part of (or, even to hold a position in) NAACP you don't have to be any particular race (at least, for the chapters my friends are in, I'm not sure if maybe the Spokane one is different)? So, I really wonder what encouraged her to lie in the first place.
Also, new development: Looks like she resigned from the NAACP position.
I'm fascinated by this story. I think what's really important is that the NAACP works for equality - and, if the stories are correct, most people believe Dolezal to have been doing a good job in her post as president. So, if the president is doing a good job, does it really matter what race she is? I appreciate that there's another discussion to be had about self-identification, but I think the most important point here is the well-being of that particular chapter of the NAACP has not suffered due to her lie.
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