I never have got around to reading “Black Like Me” but I did read “The Human Stain” by Philip Roth, about a black man who can pass for white, and why he does, and what that gains him, and what that costs him. A good read. You could definitely understand why he did it.
Rachel Dolezal went the other way. A white girl and, from the look of the ‘before’ picture, unambiguously so, she has been passing as black for many years now. She taught an African-American history class. She is the head of the Spokane area NAACP (why do they still call it that, and not the NAABP, or the NAAAAP? I guess that last one would be a bit unwieldy.)
Now, she’s been outed. Her parents (who are a little bit miffed) spoke to the press. One thing I wonder is why it took so long. Didn’t she have any old friends from High School who recognized her and spoke up? Former boyfriends? I guess it’s easy to lose contact and drop out of sight if your not actually trying to keep up contact. But this is a fairly high profile lady, who seeks the limelight. She gives speeches. She heads organizations. She tweets.
So, that’s the hot topic today. Is she mentally disturbed? Is it O.K. because she’s helping people? Should we just carry on counting her as black because isn’t it her choice, after all, just as a man can become a woman or a woman a man, why shouldn’t a white girl call herself black?
I’m sure we’ll get a lot more info on this in the next few days. I’d be particularly interested in hearing from her adopted, black younger brother who she’s been passing off as her son – I’m sure race was a topic of conversation in their household growing up, and I’d like to know what their parents attitudes about it were.
I’d like to hear from her teachers. Was she a normal child growing up? Is this the first time she’s tried to take on a different identity?
In short, I’d like to hear more. And I’m sure we will.