I have been torn about this unfolding story about Rachel Dolezal. She is the white woman who has been identifying and living as a black woman. She has made physical adjustments to herself to look black. I won’t be retelling what has been told about her. I really would like to dialogue about her and shed light on some of messages we could get from this situation.
I have had some time to think about it. At first, I felt like the story was getting more attention than it should. But after more information was revealed by Rachel and the media, I began to feel confused and sad for this woman. From a mental health standpoint, she could have some dissociative issues, trauma, or some other psychological disorder. As a black woman who has experienced more than enough racial injustice and prejudices, I felt somewhat disrespected that she would create stories of being racially disenfranchised all of her life. If you have never experienced it , it is not something to make light of or to fabricate such experiences. However, I do appreciate her tenacity in advocating for the equality of the black race. However, I am sad that she denies her heritage and her race. As a black woman, I am proud to be black. There are some serious issues that concern me about my race as a whole, but not once have I desired to be anything but black.
With that being said, I genuinely hope that she finds resolution within herself and possibly her family because there obviously is some underlying and unresolved issues. One thing I can take from this situation is that we can truly appreciate and learn from another culture or race different from our own. I personally have learned more about myself just by getting to know people who didn’t look, think, or believed like me. Many times we share similar interests and we learn something new.
Rachel’s experience opens dialogue about racial identity. She is not the only person who desires to be black. There are people of all shades who deny their racial background for different reasons and desire to be another race. I know some people may appreciate or find more connectivity to some cultures than their own. There are some men and women who totally dig African American culture from hairstyles to music. Many don’t deny their heritage and race while enjoying another.
Is Rachel’s physical transformation and racial identity change a result of a young woman who grew up with a strong admiration for African American culture and its people that went too far? Does she suffer from trauma or some other psychological disorder that causes her to cope and thrive better as a black woman?
Share your thoughts if you have any.