This is our truth, tell us yours
Rachel Dolezal became a global hate figure this year when she was outed as a ‘race faker’, and it’s hard to share her surprise at the backlash. In a Guardian interview utterly devoid of insight or corroboration, she talks about her puritanical Christian upbringing, the backlash that left her surviving on food stamps – and why she would still do the same again. It’s truly terrifying, in a Tony Blair talking about all the things that cause wars in the mIddle east besides Tony Blair kind of way.
I’ve written about my ancestry here. Rachel Dolezal could do with reading it. Racial oppression isn’t what’s in your head, or even, as in my case, what’s in your genes. It’s about your experiences, your life, and the decisions others make about you because of how they perceive your race. It really isn’t complicated. If Dolezal can be believed, and that’s a huge caveat, she chose to be black because her life had been crap, and she thought that her experience was analogous to the experiences of black people. We have an overriding principle here that we don’t do sidewalk diagnosis, but in Dolezal’s case it’s reasonable to say that instead of appropriating the experiences of others, she should have sought out qualified help from a professional.