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Identity or deceit: the Rachel Dolezal factor

Aris Showers, Staff Writer

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The news media is constantly filled with scandalous stories about the behaviors of people in leadership roles. I feel some people of authority tend to believe in their own invincibility. Rachel Dolezal was the leader of the NAACP Spokane Washington branch and her recent antics have added her to the long list of questionable behaviors. Rachel is a Caucasian woman who identified herself as black. I have no problem with Rachel’s racial identity choice, but I’ll criticize her for misleading people into believing she was born black. Public opinion is a difficult challenge to overcome.

The discord arises because Rachel Dolezal chose to deceive the black community to ensure her own agenda.  Rachel seems to suggest that being black is an experience that she had to be a part of.  I’m a black woman, but I don’t know about any “black experience,” nor do I treat my black heritage like a job experience. I assume this is a phrase that a vulture would use when the depth of a culture is beyond their reach.

I feel cultural depth is something you’re born with and it can’t be mimicked through physical changes. Rachel made drastic changes to her appearance to appear more naturally black. A woman’s hair can be a sensitive subject for some black women. I think Rachel purposely took the vulnerabilities of some black women and created her own image of it. The natural appearance of Rachel was easily acceptable and it made her descent into the black community more credible.

The trail of events leading up to the big Rachel Dolezal reveal was well calculated, by her. I feel Rachel would have been accepted in the black community, even as a Caucasian woman that identified as black. People that care about a cause don’t need to lie. Caring comes from the heart, not the ego.

I think Rachel’s problem is that she doesn’t know who she is as a person. I’ve watched many interviews about this situation and in each one Rachel Dolezal seemed confused about her race. The only personal connection she has with the black community is that she has one bi-racial son and one black son. Rachel was also married to a black man.

I believe Rachel Dolezal’s ego will allow her to live the “black experience” vicariously through her sons. Rachel seems to be fascinated, by the minority label of blacks and, unfortunately, this is turning into a new underground trend.

I’ll leave those new emerging stories to social media to expound upon. I only hope Rachel doesn’t write a book about her social experiment. I think she should settle for a flipbook of memes from social media sites. People should know who they are first, before taking ownership of another race.

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IV Leader is the student newspaper of Illinois Valley Community College
Identity or deceit: the Rachel Dolezal factor