Apparently, Rachel Dolezal, the President of the Spokane, Washington NAACP, is white. It seems she went to a tanning bed, dyed her hair darker, and got it tightly curled so as to appear more African American. Her parents have outed her. From The Guardian:
Her parents claim that, post-divorce in 2004, her daughter began to adapt her appearance. “Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” Mrs Dolezal said.
In the news video, the Dolezals displayed pictures of their daughter as a blonde child, and also at her wedding several years ago. The couple later provided a copy of their daughter’s birth certificate to the Spokesman-Review newspaper.
Dolezal has since told local media that she is not in touch with the Dolezals because of an ongoing lawsuit, and does not view them as her real parents.
Why is this news?
I mean, seriously: Why is this news?
The story here should be that there’s a serious problem with our mental health system, since Ms. Delezal is apparently delusional and probably has some other, more serious issues; but since that’s become rather common, that’s really not a story worthy of newsprint and TV airtime. Maybe the story could be that she’s committed fraud by claiming affirmative action that she’s not entitled. The story hints that it’s possible, but it’s clear that no serious investigation has been done.
So I ask again, why is this news?
It’s a prejudice common to both sides of the political aisle that white people don’t deny their European heritage (despite books and motion pictures about people who’ve done so in the past). We’ve been conditioned to think of civil rights leaders as entirely black (or at least minorities), even though many have been and continue to be white. It doesn’t fit the politically correct social narrative that a white person would choose the life of a minority rather than accept her white priviledge. So despite being totally irrelevant, this pervasive cultural bias makes it news.
I’m actually pretty pleased with another Spokane NAACP leader, who basically states that her being white is a non-issue and that they’ve had other chapter Presidents in the past who were white. His response is appropriate and actually somewhat reassuring.
The really important part was, at least by The Guardian, buried at the bottom of the story:
The NAACP president has been a regular face at local demonstrations and on TV channels, and has made the news on numerous occasions for the graphic hate mail she received, including nooses left at her home.
In one of the most recent incidents, Dolezal found an envelope containing pictures of lynchings in the organisation’s postbox at the local post office. Postal workers later told police the envelope had never been posted, and had been placed in the box by someone who had an access key.
So here’s the real story: A person who is so mentally unbalanced that she has rejected the reality of her European heritage and adopted another heritage to the point of changing her appearance, lying about her upbringing, and denying her paternity has apparently also faked racial incidents in order to draw more attention to herself. Since she’s an adult and her parents can’t otherwise punish her, they called her out publicly.
Ms. Dolezal shouldn’t be the subject of an international news story; at least, not for that on which the story is focused. Nor should she be the recipient of scorn and derision from any political group or pundit for changing her appearance. Rather, we should recognize her for what she is: She’s sick. She needs psychiatric help. She’s denying a reality she doesn’t want to be true. She needs our compassion and she needs our prayers. Her past bad behavior appears to be the result of this illness. I say this not to excuse her but to call attention to the real issue.
Go ahead and use this as evidence of a hidden lessening of the racial divide in America where whites deny their “privilege.” Perhaps use it as evidence that some racial incidents are faked to give civil rights “leaders” more attention and power. Just leave Ms. Dolezal alone.
She, quite clearly, has enough problems.