Rachel Dolezal Is not Trying to Be Black; She’s Trying to Be the Whitest Person You’ve Ever Met

Despite protestations to the contrary, Rachel Dolezal is the whitest person you know. From her stance that she “knows” black culture, to her recent adoption of a string of African names from different traditions, to her love of bronzer, her obliviousness, self-deception, and self-righteousness are just manifestations of her total and deep whiteness.

For a long time we’ve been talking about her like she’s some sort of delusional weirdo, but the truth of the matter is that she’s just every damned white girl you knew in college who studied abroad in India, volunteered in Rwanda, or just grew out some white-locks.

boom_festival_2008_2786861434_2
Yes, this one.

She told you about samsara or something and all of you at the party just look at each other with the small eye-rolls that people like her never seem to see.

Now she’s changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, which strings together some Igbo and Fulani names like a cultural appropriation rosary and which, along with her forthcoming book, allow her to take up more space with her savage mediocrity.

The absolute kicker is the conversations conducted over Facebook that were shared with Awesomely Luvvie anonymously by a former colleague of Rachel D’s at one of the institutions where she taught. In the screenshots, she initially blasts the colleague for teaching a course on intercultural communication for which she feels she’s more qualified than him, despite his having a degree in communications and her having a background in art.

Thinks she deserves opportunities without qualifications? WHITE

Then, when she finds out the dude is indigenous, she fetishes his tribal belonging and then tries to school him on diversity and systemic racism within the academy.

Explanations to a non-white person about what racism is and how it manifests in their life? WHITE

The thing is, we all know people like Rachel D, it’s just that most of them keep their belief in their Inner Otherness on the DL and just adopt the extensions and nails. Their attempts to appropriate otherness is a way of refusing to acknowledge their own implication in white supremacy, an involvement in which white people, even against their will, are necessarily caught, no matter how much they work with the NAACP or how many black guys they have sex with. (Wasn’t this Milo’s schtick, too?) Loving Beyoncé doesn’t get you out of being a part of the problem of racism. Encouraging your nanny to speak to your children in Putonghua doesn’t get you off the hook for your family’s xenophobia. Adopting your black brother doesn’t prevent you from looking like a white fool.

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3 thoughts on “Rachel Dolezal Is not Trying to Be Black; She’s Trying to Be the Whitest Person You’ve Ever Met”

  1. YALL Always mad and yelling at YT telling them GIVE UP YOUR WHITE PRIVILEGE and when one actually does…….YALL STILL MAD? Rachel may have some identity issues but WHO OF US DOESNT? Yall goin to be the first one to cast a stone but as long as u thought she was black it was all good? If a man with a d*ck can wear a dress and call himself “Caitlin” who never had to break a glass ceiling in his/her life and be accepted, What exactly is wrong with this woman who gave up her white privilege and the perks of white supremacy again?????

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    1. I don’t think she gave up her white privilege or her white supremacy. The point of my commentary is that, in fact, she’s behaving exactly like white people always do: taking up more space than is her share, acting like an authority on things she doesn’t even know anything about, and feeling entitled to take from whatever traditions and histories she wants. Reports about her behavior include inventing threats against herself to legitimize her “blackness,” as well as (and this is verifiable, and she admits it) suing Howard University for racial discrimination against her being white when they dropped her funding for not complying with its terms (there’s no indication there was racial bias in that case, and she admits that its not an accurate portrayal of the events. See this interview: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/25/rachel-dolezal-not-going-stoop-apologise-grovel)

      As for how it’s different from questions over transgender identities, I’m not an expert on that topic, but I don’t think that my post makes that analogy. You seem to assume that there’s an analogy there, but you don’t prove that they are the same, and I think that my argument that she acts white actually disproves your analogy.

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      1. Thanks for your comment, because it’s allowed me to think about the problem with the analogy between transgender identity and what Dolezal insists on calling “transracial” identity. I think one of my primary problems with it is that transgender identity doesn’t fetishize and reify a single concept of femininity or masculinity as the only way for masculinity and femininity to appear. What I mean is that transgender people look like all kinds of people: pretty, ugly, glamorous, low-key, grunge, haute couture, big boobs, little boobs, no boobs, huge beards, tidy facial hair, no facial hair, you get the idea. The point is that they treat their own gender with plasticity, with humor, with care.

        Dolezal, on the other hand, is fetishizing a particular concept of “blackness” and thinks that by adorning herself with those characteristics she has become black. She uses bronzer “because black people don’t have white skin” (even though some do), she crimps her hair and gets extensions “because black people have curly hair and use extensions” (even though some don’t), she adopts names from West Africa that aren’t even from the same naming traditions “because black people have African names” (even though an Igbo would probably not have a Fulani name; Maryse Condé’s novel Heremakhonon has some great critique of this type of exoticization). All the while, her actions and motivations suggest the whitest of people.

        Why couldn’t she just announce herself as a white ally? There are plenty of white people who teach African-American art, who work in and with black communities, who have black children, who work with the NAACP (they have an award named after Joel Springarn, for goodness’s sake!). Why does she have to adopt the name “black” along with these outward signs? I would argue it’s because she’s acting white, seeking to appropriate the other into herself, which is the point that I’m trying to make in this post.

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