Who Am I: Rachel Dolezal

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This photo was retrieved from Instagram

Hello everyone!

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.

Brandi

Unsettled…Unsure

 

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It’s 3:46 am December 4, 2014.  I completed some weekly discussion assignments for my Human Sexuality course for my PhD program. I just showered and now I’m in bed and I can’t sleep. I am sleepy but I can’t. I am not settled…unsettled.

My mind is full of the current events overtaking our nation.  I’m unsettled in my spirit…in my mind.  I have been bombarded with news about the social injustices occurring within our communities.  Lives have been taken at the hands of those who are deemed our “protectors”.

Words like “Hands up don’t shoot,”  “black lives matter,” and “I can’t breathe” ring out on social media, in the streets of our free country, and in the hearts of so many beautiful people of different races and nationalities.

Despite the unity being expressed.  More needs to be done.  I am not surprised about the decision made concerning Mike Brown and Eric Garner.  The “protectors” who took the lives of these unarmed men are protected behind their badges and the law.  I’m unsettled…unsure how to respond.

There are not enough quotes and statements that I can speak and post all over social media that can bring back the countless  lives taken at the hands of our “protectors.”  I can say that I am angry, disappointed, unsettled, and unsure about the state of our country.  I feel that more should be done…I am unsure of what I can do…how can I contribute the protest?

What can I do to protect my daddy from being taken away at the hands of someone who deems him a threat?  How can I ensure that brother’s life will not be taken by our “protectors”?  What needs to be done to keep my 17-year-old nephew from joining his peers, Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, in young graves?

How long must I pray?  How long do I wait for the government to protect us from the protectors?

I have never pulled the “race card” and I have no plan in using it.  If I were to use the race card in the unfairness of my treatment, I would be considered entitled.  I have seen and heard people say that black people are entitled.  It has been said too often that we use race card for all of our problems.  I have experienced enough in my 29 years of life to say that my blackness has discounted me from some opportunities.  Especially growing up in the rural south.

Instead of seeing my skin color, my race, as a curse, I see it as a blessing in disguise.  I find joy, even pride when those who have prejudged or discounted me because of my brown skin and nappy hair discover that this brown covered body possesses a brilliant mind and a compassionate spirit.  When I speak of my three degrees and pending PhD some gasp in shock.  To me, I’m just a woman who loves learning.  I smile when people, who admittedly prejudged me as just another black girl, discover that I am creative, articulate, intelligent. To me, I’m just being me. Everyday, I wear my skin proudly.

One thing that I sure and settled about is I am a proud, black woman.

This conversation is not over…waiting on justice and equality

Signing out at 5:22 am December 4, 2014…

Settled and Sure,

Brandi

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