Rachel Dolezal signs publishing deal to write book on race.

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Re: Rachel Dolezal signs publishing deal to write book on ra

Postby admin » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:58 pm

Rachel Dolezal: the world may be confused about who I am, but I'm not. ‘I didn’t deceive anybody,’ the former NAACP leader said in an interview, adding: ‘If people feel misled … that’s more due to their definition and construct of race’
by Alan Yuhas
July 20, 2015

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The civil rights activist who resigned from the NAACP after her biological parents claimed she had been misrepresenting herself as a black woman when her heritage is white has defiantly insisted: “I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m black.”

“There’s a difference in those terms,” Rachel Dolezal told Vanity Fair in an interview published on Sunday. “It’s not a costume.”

Dolezal did not retreat from her identification as a black woman despite the words and evidence of her estranged parents, who in June accused their daughter of misrepresenting herself for years.

“I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [am] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all,” Dolezal said. “But I’m not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be – but I’m not.”

A few days after her parents first spoke to a local newspaper in June, Dolezal resigned from her post as the president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington.

The organisation’s national president, Cornell William Brooks, dismissed the matter in June, saying: “The NAACP is not concerned with the racial identity of our leadership.”

In the Vanity Fair interview, Dolezal also rejected accusations that she had misled the NAACP, her fellow activists and the community at large, for instance by telling people that an African American man was her father.

“I didn’t deceive anybody,” she said. “If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that’s more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty.”

She said she could hold an “academic conversation” about racial identity but struggled to articulate how her own story came to pass – from suing predominantly black Howard University, in part on anti-white discrimination claims, in 2002 to identifying as black in 2015.

“You can’t just say in one sentence what is blackness or what is black culture or what makes you who you are,” she said.

In June, Dolezal also lost a teaching position in Eastern Washington University’s African studies department, where she specialised in black studies and African American culture.

She said she has turned to hairdressing to pay the bills, with “appointments for braids and weaves about three times a week”.

Last week, the new president of the Spokane NAACP chapter, Naima Quarles-Burnley, expressed empathy for her predecessor while gently denouncing her.

“I saw in Rachel maybe my younger self,” she said.“Passionate, involved, all-in for social justice.”

“I feel that people of all races can be allies and advocates,” Quarles-Burnley told the Spokesman-Review. “But you can’t portray that you have lived the experience of a particular race that you aren’t part of.”

Dolezal said that she felt a book would best return her to the good graces of her fellow activists. “I don’t feel like I am probably going to be able to re-enter that work,” she said, “if I don’t have something like a published explanation.”
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Re: Rachel Dolezal signs publishing deal to write book on ra

Postby admin » Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:04 pm

Rachel Dolezal's definition of 'transracial' isn't just wrong, it's destructive
by Syreeta McFadden
June 16, 2015

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Image
Rachel Dolezal on the Today Show, not really making sense. Photograph: Anthony Quintano/AP

fter days of speculation, Rachel Dolezal appeared on the Today show and declared herself transracial – and blamed other people’s misunderstanding of the term on why she came to be identified as black. “I was actually identified when I was doing human rights work in north Idaho as first transracial”, she said – in a construction that conveniently negated her agency in that decision – and explained that she never corrected subsequent media reports that she was biracial or black.

“I identify as black”, she said during the interview, though she admits to having identified as white at other points – including when she sued Howard University for racial discrimination because she was white. (She lost.)

But transracial does not mean what some white Americans like Dolezal apparently wish it to mean. The term originates from adoptive and academic circles to describe the very lived experience of children raised in homes that are phenotypically and culturally different from their birth – people like my colleague Rebecca Carroll, who is black. She was raised in a white household and her white birth mother attempted to define her as “culturally white, and cosmetically black”.

Writer Ellie Freeman clarified the distinction between actual transracial people and those like Dolezal:

Being transracial is hardly similar to ‘feeling black’ … It’s not like gender dysphoria either – the politics of race and gender are not interchangeable in this context. Unlike many black Americans, Rachel’s family background does not carry the trauma of slavery and institutionalised racism. Unlike people who really are transracial, Rachel has not been physically torn between two cultures and denied intimate knowledge of her birth culture. Unlike people who are black and transracial adoptees, Rachel has not had to deal with both of these life-affecting experiences at the same time.

In other words, Dolezal’s black adopted brothers could be considered transracial, if they chose to define themselves that way – which does not negate their blackness – but Dolezal herself is not. And Dolezal’s insistence that, for it to be “plausible” to be seen as the mother of her adopted brother, Izaiah, of whom she gained custody in 2010, “I certainly can’t be seen as white”, doesn’t make her transracial as that term has always been understood.

Perhaps it feels convenient to white people who desire to unravel systemic effects of a hyperracialized society (especially those effects that they feel affect white people negatively) to embrace the notion of a transracial identity, as if such a thing exists. But to argue that real parity between race and ethnic groups in the United States exists – and can be exchanged one-on-one – is to deny protections for those groups marginalized by institutional power.

Black America is quite familiar with the complex fluidity of racial and ethnic identity within our families, because we live most directly with the legacy of four centuries of intergenerational chattel slavery in the United States. But while that history of slavery is often positioned by white people and American society as my history, not our history, that is a stupid delineation: the evidence of black or white blood, relationships and rape, flow fairly seamlessly in my bloodline and in white Americans’.

My maternal great-grandfather had green eyes, was very fair skinned and had the very prominent nose and lips – the phenotypical features – that one associates with people of African descent. The 1940 census, which I was able to unearth some time ago via a leaf on the ancestry.com database, showed me that, fair skin and green eyes aside, he was designated “Negro”. My maternal great-grandmother, his wife, was dark skinned, but her sister could (and often did) pass for white. I’m told that her ability to pass afforded my great aunt some measure of mobility and safety on the white side of the city of Jackson, Tennessee in the 1950s – safety and mobility that her sister and nieces would never experience.

In her 2010 book, The History of White People, historian Nell Irwin Painter chronicled the merging of European ethnic groups from ancient Western civilization through immigration to America and into the binary of black and white existence here – and how 19th century racial science fomented these beliefs. Painter notes that criteria for “race” constantly “shift according to individual taste and political need” and “the fundamental black/white binary endures even though the category of whiteness – or we might say more precisely, a category of nonblackness – effectively expands.” The opposite of whiteness is presumed “alien” or “degenerate”; the opposite of blackness is the presumed moral majority. It is a thinking that denies the value of black people, and limits our acceptance. Crossing over, as Dolezal apparently wanted to do, doesn’t subvert the structure; it reinforces it.

Dolezal’s messy theft and fiction of a black American identity uses the currency of a subculture of privilege that is rooted in white supremacy too. If anything, to believe that one can transfer one’s identity in this way is a privilege – maybe even the highest manifestation of white privilege. The ability to accept marginalization, to take on the identity of blackness without living the burdens of it and always knowing you could, on a whim, escape it, is not a transition to blackness; to use it to further your career or social aspirations is not to become black. To have whiteness in American society is to have more freedom; blackness operates as tension between restriction and transcendence. Black people are required by whiteness to transcend our race to succeed; performing blackness in order to succeed as a black person is to use existing hierarchies to your advantage.

To deny ethnic and cultural differences – to say not only “I don’t see race” but that race is a choose-your-own adventure – is to erase the identities of those who cannot choose. Dolezal’s actions are the acceptance of a hierarchy of identities that are more deserving of merit, love, the visible acknowledgment of pain, validity, the pursuit of happiness and access to wealth and opportunity. The story of America that we like to repeat is that everyone is equal, that every individual has the opportunity to manifest the good life – although our history and cultural idiosyncrasies do not align consistently with that notion. To say: “I am colorblind”, is an attempt to inoculate oneself from accountability for individual behavior that reinforces systemic inequalities and divides.

To deny the complexities of racial identity is to plead ignorance. To demand that your racial identity be seen as fluid because you are inconvenienced by whiteness and your ambitions are thwarted by other people’s blackness is just a new reason for a very old kind of erasure.
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Re: Rachel Dolezal signs publishing deal to write book on ra

Postby admin » Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:26 pm

Excerpt from "So You've Been Publicly Shamed"
by Jon Ronson
Copyright © 2015 by Jon Ronson

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On June 12, I read in The Guardian:

CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST RACHEL DOLEZAL MISREPRESENTED HERSELF AS BLACK, CLAIM PARENTS

The biological parents of a prominent civil rights activist in Washington State have claimed that she has been misrepresenting herself as a black woman when her heritage is white.

Rachel Dolezal is an academic, chair of the office of the police ombudsman commission in the city of Spokane and president of its chapter of the African American civil rights organization NAACP.

-- JESSICA ELGOT, The Guardian, JUNE 12, 2015


What a crazy, extraordinary story, I thought. So mysterious and complicated. What led Dolezal to fake being black? Maybe she has a mental illness. Or maybe she doesn't. Maybe she feels about color the way some transgender people feel about gender. Or maybe she doesn't feel that way. I had a thousand questions. What kind of family life did she have? Was she a good NAACP chapter head? If she was, did it matter that she faked being black? Maybe it did matter. I didn't know how much it mattered. A journalist's favorite question is "Why?" Why? opens doors into new worlds.

I wonder what Twitter is making of it? I thought. And so I went on Twitter.

"#RachelDolezal you can APPRECIATE a culture, without APPROPRIATING it. The fact you can't grasp that is one reason you're a racist idiot," and "#RachelDolezal has been living in 'Black-Face' her whole life, seems cut & dry racist to me," and "We should apply a super-strength relaxer onto #Rachel- Dolezal head & not wash it out. Allow it to burn through her skull & racist brain," and "Make no mistake: #RachelDolezal is a self absorbed, psychotic & sociopathic racist." And so on. I didn't have the stomach for it anymore. On social media we'd had the chance to do everything better, but instead of curiosity we were constantly lurching toward cold, hard judgment. We knew nothing about Rachel Dolezal that morning. Maybe she was everything Twitter assumed she was, but what was wrong with a bit of waiting for evidence? Maybe Rachel Dolezal was reading all the tweets and thinking about killing herself. That was possible. I was sick of us forever making damaged people our playthings. And so I tweeted: "Peeling incredibly sorry for #RachelDolezal and hope she's okay. The world knows very little about her, her motives."

I went to dinner. I chatted away with people at the table. It was nice. I went on Twitter. Someone was calling me a white supremacist. I went back to the dinner conversation. Everyone was nice. I went back on Twitter. Somebody, pretending to be me, had written: "Dylann Roof is good." Dylann Roof was the racist who murdered nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina.

Someone told me I had no right to weigh in on Rachel Dolezal's story because, being white, it wasn't my story. He added that, unlike her, he had no choice in being black or white. As a black man he was racially profiled every time he walked down the street. He was genuinely angry with me for chipping in the way that I had. I explained my reasons-that after thirty years of writing about complicated, spiraling people I had opinions on how to consider them. But he was right. In all the hardening of positions, rd become a caricature.

I complained to Twitter about the man who, pretending to be me, commended the Charleston racist murderer. Twitter responded: "We have determined that it's not in violation of Twitter's impersonation policy." I felt a flash of rage. I saw someone tweet "It's strange to think that something I type in this box could ruin my life." Twitter suddenly felt like a doomed company-intimidating, even dangerous.

My friend the documentary maker Adam Curtis e-mailed me: "I have this perverse theory that, in about ten years, sections of the internet will have become like a John Carpenter film-where, among the ruins, there are fierce warrior gangs, all with their own complex codes and rules and all shouting at each other. And everyone else will have fled to the suburbs of the internet, where you can move on and change the world. I think those suburbs are going to be the exciting, dynamic future of the internet. But to build them I think it will be necessary to leave the warrior trolls behind."

I had enough. I quit Twitter.

The world outside Twitter was GREAT. I read books. I reconnected with people I knew from real life and met them for drinks in person. Then I drifted back onto Twitter.
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Re: Rachel Dolezal signs publishing deal to write book on ra

Postby admin » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:35 am

Rachel Dolezal, white woman who identifies as black, now jobless, may soon be homeless
by Cody Derespina
February 26, 2017

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Rachel Dolezal, the infamous white woman who for years passed herself off as African American and rose to become head of an NAACP branch, is now jobless, on food stamps and expects to soon be homeless.

A defiant Dolezal, 39, recounted her current plight to The Guardian. Dolezal said she’s only been offered jobs in reality television and porno flicks. A friend helped her come up with the money for February’s rent and she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay for March.

And she still says she’s not white.

“I do think a more complex label would be helpful, but we don’t really have that vocabulary,” Dolezal told The Guardian. “I feel like the idea of being trans-black would be much more accurate than ‘I’m white.’ Because, you know, I’m not white . . . Calling myself black feels more accurate than saying I’m white.”

Dolezal was exposed in June 2015 when a local television crew asked her the simple question: “Are you African American?”

Pictures of a younger, white-skinned and blonde-haired Dolezal soon surfaced and her story exploded. The formerly successful leader of the Spokane NAACP chapter and a university professor, Dolezal – who once sued historically-black Howard University for racial discrimination, because she was white – now says she’s been turned down for 100 jobs and her memoir was rejected by 30 publishers before finding a taker.

She’s also apparently begun ruffling feathers in the transgender community by claiming that race, like gender, is fluid.

“It’s more so,” Dolezal told The Guardian. “Because it wasn’t even biological to begin with. It was always a social construct.”

Dolezal said she’s never considered identifying as white again.

“I feel that I was born with the essential essence of who I am, whether it matches my anatomy and complexion or not,” Dolezal said. “I’ve never questioned being a girl or a woman, for example, but whiteness has always felt foreign to me, for as long as I can remember. I didn’t choose to feel this way or be this way, I just am.

“What other choice is there than to be exactly who we are?”
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