Jessa Duggar And Rachel Dolezal Share Some Eerie Similarities

Treva Bowdoin - Author

Jun. 18 2015, Updated 3:23 a.m. ET

Jessa Duggar has something in common with media sensation Rachel Dolezal other than their obvious shared love of fake tans.

Jessa Duggar is one of the 19 Kids and Counting stars who recently appeared on Fox News to talk about being molested by an older brother, and Rachel Dolezal is the former Spokane NAACP chapter president who stepped down after it was discovered that she was lying about being black. Rachel and Jessa both became hot topics online, and it turns out that their headline-making stories may both stem from the similar ways that they were raised.

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According to Slate, Jessa Duggar and Rachel Dolezal are both the products of a “conservative, Christian homeschooling culture” that can have damaging effects on children. After Josh Duggar admitted to molesting four of his younger sisters, it wasn’t long before his parents started being scrutinized — there was a lot of speculation that Josh’s behavior was influenced by the sexually repressive, misogynistic environment that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar created.

Slate writer Amanda Marcotte talked to the community coordinator of the Homeschoolers Anonymous blog, and she discovered that Rachel Dolezal’s parents were fans of the book To Train Up a Child. According to ChicagoNow, Jessa Duggar’s parents once endorsed the same controversial child-rearing manual, which teaches parents to spank children with pieces of plastic plumbing line to keep them in line. In the police report obtained by InTouch Weekly, one of Josh Duggar’s victims is documented telling an officer that her parents spank all their children with “a rod.” However, as Gawker points out, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar refuse to publicly admit that they spank their children.

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It’s also rumored that Jessa Duggar and her siblings were subjected to “blanket training” when they were younger. This involves hitting a baby with a flexible ruler each time he or she tries to crawl off of a blanket. The thinking is that the child will eventually be too scared to leave the blanket, making it possible for a mother to do as she pleases without having to worry about her baby wandering off. “Blanket training” is also referenced in To Train Up a Child— hitting children from the time they are babies is supposed to produce an obedient child.

Slate reports that Rachel Dolezal’s parents also practiced blanket training, and writer Amanda Marcotte describes their method of raising Rachel and her siblings as “a Pentecostal strain of the Christian patriarchy–style views of the Duggar clan from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting” (the Duggars are Independent Fundamental Baptists). Most of the insight into Rachel’s upbringing comes from a book written by her biological brother Joshua.

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That’s right — Jessa Duggar and Rachel Dolezal both have older brothers named Joshua. And, as the Inquisitr previously reported, Joshua Dolezal was accused of sexually abusing one of his adopted siblings. Rachel’s parents have also defended their Josh, but they haven’t done it by trying to play down sexual molestation like the Duggars did during their Fox News interview — the Dolezals simply said that the allegations against their son are “absolutely untrue.” Rachel’s parents also took a page from Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar by agreeing to talk to Fox News host Megyn Kelly about their family’s issues.

There are even more similarities between the Duggars and the Dolezals. According to Homeschoolers Anonymous, Joshua Dolezal wrote in his book that his mother once called him a survivor of “the holocaust on the unborn” because he was born after the Roe vs. Wade ruling. Jessa Duggar and her mother have both compared abortion to the Holocaust, and below you can see Jessa’s husband, Ben Seewald, wearing a “I survived Roe vs. Wade” T-shirt.

Rachel Dolezal and Jessa Duggar do differ in one key way — Rachel tried to distance herself from her family, and Jessa continues to support hers.

“If Rachel Dolezal did indeed grow up in an abusive, extremist family, it’s of course no excuse for lying about her identity,” Amanda Marcotte writes. “But the cult-like fundamentalism that festers in so many pockets of our country does real damage to the psyches of people who might grow up to rebel against their upbringing—and even reject their core identity—in the strangest of ways.”

Rachel’s decision could actually end up paying off for her. Jessa Duggar’s TLC reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, is in serious danger of being cancelled, while RadarOnline reports that Rachel has received multiple offers to star on her own reality show. There’s no word on whether one of these offers came from TLC.

[Images via TLC, MSNBC]


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