Choosing to Be Black Is the Epitome of White Privilege

In this March 2, 2015 file photo, Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, poses for a photo in her Spokane, Wash. home. Dolezal is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she is white but has portrayed herself as black, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)
In this March 2, 2015 file photo, Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, poses for a photo in her Spokane, Wash. home. Dolezal is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she is white but has portrayed herself as black, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)
In this March 2, 2015 file photo, Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, poses for a photo in her Spokane, Wash. home. Dolezal is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she is white but has portrayed herself as black, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)

 

(Politico) – “Are you African-American?” For Rachel Dolezal, the question seemed almost rhetorical. The now embattled former president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP, dodged answering when asked the four words by a reporter last week.

“It’s a little more complex,” Dolezal said, by which she meant that even though she was born white, she publicly identifies as black. She’s changed her hairstyle. She’s raising two black children. She’s appropriated African-American culture. And as for her skin, well, “I certainly don’t stay out of the sun,” she told Today Show host Matt Lauer when asked to explain her café au lait complexion.

Just weeks after Bruce Jenner announced his transition to Caitlyn Jenner, why shouldn’t Rachel Dolezal, white woman, be able to announce her transition to Rachel Dolezal, black woman?

I’ll tell you why not: Staying out of the sun doesn’t make me less black. For Dolezal to be able to “opt in” suggests that those of us who were born black can “opt out.”

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