Rachel Dolezal, may have been born a white woman but by the time she was heading a local chapter of the NAACP in Washington state she identified as a black woman. She tells her story in her memoir In Full Color about finding belonging in the black community; and if Caitlyn Jenner can be a woman, the argument can certainly be made that Rachel can be black.
After all the accomplished artist and dedicated civil rights activist before setting off a media firestorm in 2015 had married a black man, beared his children, specialized in doing black hair, but most of all actually had studied the culture and made life choices aligned with support for the black community, which she showcases in her artwork.
However, being black in this country doesn’t come with any advantages as Rachel has been facing joblessness. The Howard University MFA graduate because of the controversy lost her position teaching African-American studies at Eastern Washington University, and her position as head of the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter. Keep in mind this story broke in the heart of white supremacist territory (Northern Idaho), where five hate-groups are headquartered and all of the journalist were white men. Check out the interview below:
Ryan Glover: One of the points you make in the book is that just because a family adopts black children doesn’t mean they aren’t racist as in the case of your own parents. Why do you think that many white people such as your parents portray a righteous image but seem oblivious to their own overt racism?
Rachel Dolezal: I can’t really defend that. I don’t know. It kind of boggles the mind right? Why would you say you have God on your side and your being abusive. Even following serial killers, it’s a lot of really evil people in the world that thought they were doing God’s work. Even the Klan or the Aryan Nation their white supremacy beliefs is that man was was made perfect in the Garden of Eden. A lot of white supremacist foundations were connected with Christianity.
Ryan Glover: You point out early on noticing the issues of colorism with the way your parents treated your adopted brother. Did you ever consider the idea that you would receive more favorable treatment by identifying as black?
Rachel Dolezal: Colorism does play out within the black community for sure. I would say I got the experience of a light skinned black woman or a mixed biracial “redbone” and I talk about all the things I was seen as in Mississippi. I didn’t date my whole time in college and part of the reason was knowing it was so much emotion surrounding that colorism world within the circle of women.
Ryan Glover: I was struck by the harassment you detail in the book from white supremacists due to your civil rights work. Do you feel it was a white-supremacist agenda in the way the media has typically portrayed you?
Rachel Dolezal: Definitely. The story broke from that Idaho newspaper, the same area that is a stronghold of white supremacy!!
Ryan Glover: What does being a black woman mean to you?
Rachel Dolezal: Being black in my definition is being human because we all come from a black woman!! The human race started with a black woman and if society would own and honor that, we could start the view that we are one human race!!
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