Rachel Dolezal is back. On Tuesday, she appeared on the Today Show to talk about what’s been happening in her life over the last year. She has had a baby boy and has also become easily recognized in public. This, she said, has been difficult, but people who struggle with racial identity have contacted her, which she finds encouraging.
She admitted that she used “creative non-fiction” (a euphemism for lying) to explain her background to others in a way they can understand. Meanwhile, she will write a book on racial identity, per Today News. Despite Rachel’s lack of forthrightness on her so-called racial background, she has now made a bold, true statement.
“Race is such a contentious issue because of the painful history of racism. Race didn’t create racism, but racism created race.”
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 12, 2016
The American Anthropological Association released a statement on race nearly 20 years ago. It explains that in the United States, academicians, and society have historically viewed human races as separate divisions, but this has no basis in science. Racial groups vary from each other in only about 6 percent of their genes. There is a lot of overlapping; therefore, the question remains: why do Americans continue perpetuating the concept of race, specifically black and white?
However, a salient point Dolezal made seemingly conflicts with her black racial identity, noted Yahoo News.
“So I think it’s important to really think through those a lot of those topics and questions that people have. And that’s why this became so visible, because it really challenged people to think about identity and what is race? Is there one human race? Why do we still want to go back to that worldview of separate races?”
It’s an excellent question, and the answer is rooted in the whys of the social construction of race. Who created the idea of race? European Americans devised a hierarchy of races, falsely asserting that superior traits were linked with Europeans and inferior ones with blacks and Native Americans. Biblical references to white being the color of light and purity and black being the color of dark and evil were continuously spoken about and embedded in the consciousness of whites and blacks alike. The powers that be did this to justify treating fellow humans inhumanely.
In the early 1800s, science began to erroneously validate the public mindset and Europeans, Asians, and Africans were labeled as separate species, with Africans being designated as the least human and closer to apes. Read the comments section on Internet articles about a person of color who has committed a crime, and often, the suspect will be called an animal or an ape–certainly a reference to the so-called science of the 19th century, which has been invalidated based on DNA research.
It’s interesting that Dolezal broaches the subject of one race–human–which is the truth, and it conflicts with her self-identity, but remember, she, too, was raised in the United States of America. Maybe she really wants to identify as a human being who loves everything about African-American people and culture, and therefore, chooses to “identify as black,” but who would understand since virtually everyone buys into the black and white myth?
Then again, there’s that unspoken thought among many: “Who would want to be black?” Apparently, Rachel Dolezal does for her own reasons. If a black woman wanted to be white, there would be no issue, and some whites might embrace her, especially if her skin color were light enough.
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) April 12, 2016
Last year, Dolezal’s racial identity was exposed by her two white parents. When her cover was blown, she resigned from a position as president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). As more of her story unfolded, it became apparent that Rachel’s identity had changed over the years.
When anchor Savannah Guthrie asked Rachel if she had reflected on or had regrets about falsely representing herself, she responded that she still self-identifies as black and is more black than white, Today News also reported.
“I don’t have any regrets about how I identify. I’m still me and nothing about that has changed.”
In 2002, Dolezal sued Howard, a historically black university, because she was denied a teacher assistant position and an additional scholarship due to her race, then designated as white. Fast forward several years later, and Dolezal’s metamorphosis into a black woman is, according to her thought processes, now complete.
Rachel Dolezal’s search led her in the wrong direction, but hopefully, she’ll discover her authentic self—fully human.
[Photo by Aaron Robert Kathman/Wikimedia Commons]