By Brittany Miller – Features Editor
When parents call their adult child a liar on national TV, it should be clear that something is amiss.This was the unfortunate reality for former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leader Rachel Dolezal, who has been passing herself off as black for years only to have her parents out her by telling the world she is in fact white.
The thing about buried secrets is that they always come to the surface, and that’s exactly what happened to 37-year-old Dolezal. The general problem isn’t just the lies, but how she worked so hard to cover things up, and as reported by Buzzfeed, Dolezal went as far as telling her adopted brother, Ezra -one of her four black siblings- not to “blow her cover” regarding her “identity.” Along with hiding her secret, Ezra was told by Dolezal to say that he and his older brother, were her blood siblings, rather than adopted siblings.
Now this may come as a shock to Dolezal, but she’s not a federal agent. She has been acting like a con-artist, fooling everyone, including herself.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Dolezal’s father Lawrence said when she applied to Howard University, the historical and widely known black college, to study art with a portfolio of “exclusively African-American portraiture,” the college took her for a black woman and gave her a full scholarship.
Dolezal graduated in 2002, but later filed a lawsuit claiming that she endured discrimination from being denied scholarships because she was white.
The 2002 lawsuit that was uncovered by The Smoking Gun – a website that brings readers exclusive documents obtained from government sources – states Dolezal claimed discrimination based on race, as she made allegations that the school blocked her opportunity to a teaching assistant job, rejected her application for a post-graduate instructorship, and denied her scholarships while she attended the university as a white woman. However, the lawsuit was dismissed in 2004 as the ruling against Dolezal said she didn’t have any proof of adversity based on race, and that the assistant opportunities she had been “blocked” from had been filled before she even applied.
Just learning about this added fuel to the fire. Which one is it? Is she white or black? It doesn’t make any sense to claim racial discrimination for being a white woman in one breath, and to say you are a black woman in the next. It just doesn’t work that way, and for her to act in such a way is quite insulting to the African-American community.
To add to this ridiculous story, within the past year there has been suspicion of fabricated claims of racist-led crimes against Dolezal, but according to CNN, those claims have been suspended by local police. Now that’s a smart move, considering the letters “sent” to her had never been processed by the post office, as well as no barcode or postal date, leading many to believe that Dolezal sent them herself, as the sender would need a key to her mailbox.
Having four adopted black siblings, being married to a black man and having two black children, one being her adopted brother, are just a few events in her life that could have contributed to this so called identity crisis. However, in an interview with the “Today Show,” Dolezal talked about how her experience as a mother of black children caused a change of identity.
“I’ve had to really go there with the (black) experience,” Dolezal said. “And the point at which that really solidified was when I got full custody of (my black adopted brother) Izaiah, and he said, ‘You’re my real mom.’ … And for that to be something that is plausible, I certainly can’t be seen as white and be Izaiah’s mom.”
Dolezal has had multiple interviews as she continues to defend herself, but what infuriates me most is her cop out on the whole situation .
I am biracial, the product of a white woman, and a black man, and never has my mother identified herself as black woman just to raise her kids. That idea makes my blood boil. My mother has always been herself, she has never changed who she was as an individual to adjust to having biracial children, and why would she? My father hasn’t identified as a white man because he had children with a white woman, that’s just ridiculous. Parenting is not biology. It’s about character and morals and race has nothing to do with it.
Being biracial, I have never once considered myself to be more of one race rather than the other. I am two halves of a whole person. Dolezal can be an advocate for the African-American community, that’s fine, but to she took it too far when she lied about her race.
In an interview with MSNBC she said, “From a very young age I felt a very, I don’t know, spiritual, visceral, just very instinctual connection with ‘Black is beautiful’ and, you know, just the black experience and wanting to celebrate that, and I didn’t know how to articulate that as a young child.”
Black experience? What does that even mean?
Dolezal is completely disregarding the history that the African-American community has endured, the ridicule that people still face everyday, the violence, the stereotypes and then has the gall to glamorize it, like it’s some fashion trend hitting the magazines.
Changing her hair and tanning her skin does not make her a black woman any more than straightening my hair and putting powder on my skin makes me a white woman.
I respect the work she has done as a leader for the NAACP, but the dishonesty is difficult to get past. And her problems seem to have started long before she was caught in a web of lies.
My advice to Rachel Dolezal: get some help, and start taking responsibility for misleading people for years.