Politics & Race
Either Rachel Dolezal is an Alt-Right Racist Who’s Trolling Us ALL… Or She’s Insane

If you’ve wondered why Black women roll their eyes whenever anyone mentions the lady who believes that getting  box braids and put herself in an E-Z Bake Oven makes her a Black woman, here is why:

It has nothing to do with cultural appropriation, identity politics or her numerous lies. Black people don’t like Rachel Dolezal for one specific reason:

She’s a racist.

I know you’re thinking, “But she was the President of the NAACP! She was a professor of Black Studies! She has Black children! Why would you call her a racist?”

I know it is frowned upon, but let me ask you this:

Imagine that I woke up tomorrow and claimed I was Chinese, and started assimilating myself by squinting my eyes and studying Kung Fu. What would you say if I studied Indian culture for a few years, painted a dot on my forehead and started telling everyone to call me “Mr. Patel?” Would you think that was racist? Would you think that I was evil by taking my facile appropriation of a culture and claiming it as my own?

That’s exactly what Rachel did.

Here’s the thing about Blackness. It is neither a mask or a sweatshirt. The reduction of an entire culture to a basic “self-identifying” is insulting and dismissive. It is the very definition of racist. I am sure Dolezal can cite more facts about Black History and race theory than most Black people I know–but that in no way legitimizes her “blackness.” Every Black person schooled in the United States has studied European and American history for most of their academic lives. Ask John Lewis if his knowledge of the Revolutionary War softened the white supremacist State Troopers’ blows when they fractured his skull on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Ask Eric Garner if he could’ve whispered a passage from the Gettysburg address, does he think the Daniel Pantaleo would have released him from the chokehold that killed him. Her knowledge and advocacy for Black people means nothing. In fact, it is just what people are supposed to do.

What Rachel Dolezal is in love with is a fetishized stereotype of blackness. She says when she was a little girl she felt like she didn’t belong. Can you feel that? It’s the world’s tiniest violin playing a sad song especially for Rachel. Here’s some news: every kid feels like they don’t belong! Rachel says that she would smear mud on her face and fantasize about being a dark-skinned woman from Africa. Every idea she has of Blackness seems like it came from a 1959 stereotype or a childcraft magazine. She says she was always more attracted to Black men. She talks about how oppressed she felt, and how the oppression of her childhood was similar to slavery because her parents made her do housework. She darkened her skin. She created a fake black father and made up a black child. She renamed herself Nkechi Amare Diallo. She gave herself stereotypical black hairstyles:Here are some actual quotes from her book:

Here are some actual quotes from her book:

I’d stir the water from the hose into the earth … and make thin, soupy mud, which I would then rub on my hands, arms, feet, and legs.”

I would pretend to be a dark-skinned princess in the Sahara Desert or one of the Bantu women living in the Congo… imagining I was a different person living in a different place was one of the few ways … that I could escape the oppressive environment I was raised in.”

“I consciously maintained some warmth of color in my skin… through sunbathing or bronzer sprays. I’d already been identified by the media and other people as Black or biracial countless times, so it wasn’t hard for me to go one step further and fully commit to a look that made visual sense to people.”

And then there are these pictures:

Come on, man, Either this chick is a blackface-wearing, racist troll…

Or she’s batshit crazy.

Regardless of which one you decide, what is apparent to me is that it is offensive to see serious media outlets and journalists interview her as if she is a serious, non-crazy human being. It is indicative of how little so many of them think about Black people. Do you think I am being over-sensitive?

Well let’s have one more imaginary scenario:

Image if I wanted to be Jewish, so I studied the Torah for a bit, then I got a prosthetic nose to simulate semetic features. Then I said that my life was just like the holocaust because my parents made me clean the oven. Then I told people that I was Jewish because I felt cheap and I loved money. Then I start wearing a yarmulke everywhere. Then I told people that I really loved Jewish pussy, and identified with Judaism because I loved Jerry Seinfeild, so I was changing my name to Hymie Goldstein…

I’d be called an anti-semiteThe Jewish Anti-Defamation League would be on my ass so fast!

But everyone is comfortable giving this peach-colored culture succubus the spotlight?

Look, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Dolezal isn’t racist. Maybe she’s just batshit crazy with a new mental disorder that we’ve never heard of. All I know that every time I see another interviewer staring her in the eye and acting as if she doesn’t have a screw loose, all I want to say is:

“Nbeckyi, please!”


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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