Rachel Dolezal has started a conversation in America that we may not be prepared for. By Rachel Dolezal, born a white woman to a white family, saying she identifies as a black woman, the country is going to start the conversation of does race matter?
Yes race does matter. But being honest about who you are matters too. You can be a white person and identify as black. You can also be a black person and identify as white. All those things are fine. But if a black person altered their identity to look more white and told people things that weren’t true, that would become a problem.
Here’s my issue with Rachel. She lied about who she is. She changed her appearance, which is fine because how many times have we seen people alter their appearance to who they truly are. Bruce Jenner, Laverne Cox, and Aydian Dowling to name a few. These people were not afraid to change who they are and teach people that being your authentic self is very important. Here is how they are different from Rachel, they didn’t lie. They never lied about who they were previously. They have their own stories to tell but it seems Rachel has taken her “story” and tried to make a difference being a black woman. Did she think that was going to make her like other prominent black women in history?Did she think she could get away with this forever? Does she think she can tell people whatever they want to hear and they will believe her? Well so far, she has. She has told stories about an African American man being her father, which is simply not true. She is not black at all. She simply identifies as black.
But where is the line crossed? So what if she wants to have dreads, a perm or even darken her skin to get the “look” she wants. She crossed the line when she worked for the NAACP in Spokane and told people she is black. The NAACP is a highly prestigious organization that helps better black communities through the country. However, why couldn’t she have made a difference being a white woman? Was she afraid that the black community would shun her or make her work harder? Would she not be accepted like she wanted to be? Why did she feel like the only way to make a difference was to lie? Identify with what you want. Dress how you want. Do your hair how you want. Talk how you want to talk. But don’t lie.
Rachel Dolezal has sparked a conversation about what it means to be black or white, but I’m not sure it is for the right reasons. This country needs leaders who are going to be honest, forthcoming about who they really are. This country needs strong, level-headed, honest leaders who are going to be inspirations to future generations. These leaders should be people who aren’t afraid to be who they are. However, these leaders also need to be transparent. Without transparency there is not trust. Without trust there is unrest. With unrest comes violence.
I’m not sure Rachel truly thought through the consequences of her actions, the only thing she is thinking about now is the amount of money that will soon (if not already) be coming her way, since every news outlet will want to interview her. Every publisher will want her “story” and the production companies will want to tell the world who Rachel Dolezal really is.