Rachel Dolezal Still Really Wants To Be Black, Y'all, And I Think We Should Let Her

NBC News screenshot
NBC News screenshot

It's been almost a year since Rachel Dolezal, everyone's favorite post-racial turducken, emerged in the public eye, claiming she was a Black woman despite being Whiter than Lena Dunham. At Trader Joe's. In Spokane. Manning the kale souffle sample station. Naturally, the tale of this unambiguously alabaster woman desperately wanting to be a nigga captivated the nation. In no small part because while passing for White is a phenomenon firmly ensconced in our collective treasure chest of Black People Shit, passing for Black is just something that doesn't happen that often. Of course, being Black is awesome. So wanting to pass, in theory, shouldn't be that rare. But it just seems much easier to pretend you have no drops of Black blood than to pretend you actually have a few — which is probably why she received the benefit of the doubt for so long. It's a lie so rare no one bothered to challenge it.

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Equally captivating (to me at least) is how far she was willing to go to be full Black. Let me put it this way: I live a Black-ass life. I run a Black publication. I work for other Black publications. And at these Black publications I often write about Black-ass shit. I have a Black-ass wife. Shit, I even bought a pair of Jordans. At 34. But Rachel Dolezal's life was still Blacker than mine.

Seriously, look at this picture!

rachel
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There's nothing in my house — not even the teeth my nappy-ass hair broke on the comb I used this morning — Blacker than whatever's happening here.

And, after seeing Dolezal on the Today Show this morning, circling her pseudo-Black wagons and even claiming to be working on a book on racial identity — a book I totally will read the shit out of when it's released, btw (I want to read this book more than Rachel Dolezal wants to be Black) — I think it's time to give her what she wants. When the Black delegation meets again, we should officially open the books and allow Rachel Dolezal to apply for Blackness. But only if she passes a few tests first.

1. She must make an acceptable batch of potato salad. And whether its acceptable or not will be assessed by a control group of 45-to-65 year-old Black-ass aunts and uncles. Also, at least five of these aunts need to be known only as "Auntie" and at least five of these uncles need to be known only as "Unc." And there needs to be at least one "Junebug" and one "Niecy" present.

2. She has to get arrested at least once for being Black while Black. And no, shit like "driving while Black" and "riding on a wine train while Black" have already been taken. She needs to invent some new shit. Like a time machine. And then go back to 1984. And get arrested for time traveling while Black. Or maybe, since no Black person in the history of Black people has ever done this, get arrested while eating cottage cheese straight from the cup while Black. Or maybe french kissing a cocker spaniel while Black.

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3. Convince Young Metro to trust her.

If, and only if, she can do each of these things, I'll be willing to consider her as a comrade in Blackness.

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Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for GQ.com, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

If race is a social construct then why is Rachel Dolezal a fraud?
It would seem she has constructed her own racial identity through her socialization. Some Black people see her behavior as another example of white privilege and some white people see her as a con and they both seem to share the same level of outrage. I find the responses interesting and I do believe that if she existed in a predominantly black society that the general response would be dramatically different. I suspect that white supremacy has a greater impact on how so many black people view themselves that it leads them to be in agreement with whites that believe that a white person claiming to be black is insanity. Because why would anyone claim an identity that is widely see as second class?
The anarchist in me supports the idea of Rachel Dolezal and wants to encourage many more white people to come out and claim black identity. If they do it in significant enough numbers it could possibly topple the whole racial apple cart. White supremacy is a cancer and we as black folks are like 3 pack a day smokers, even if when we survive our bouts with that disease we are forever changed. Rachel Dolezal could be that alternative treatment that we sign up for because we are still losing too many to the cancer and orthodox remedies only work so much.