Dear Commons Community,
Charles Blow has a candid analysis in his New York Times column today, of the Rachel Dolezal story that has captured the American media by storm. Blow pulls no punches. He describes Dolezal as a woman with no known black heritage who through an elaborate scheme of deception and denial, claimed for years to be a product of black heritage. He further states:
“If this were simply a matter of a person appreciating, emulating or even appropriating the presentation and performance of a race other than the one society prescribes to her based simply on her appearance, it wouldn’t be a story.
But this isn’t simply that. This is about privilege, deceitful performance and a tortured attempt to avoid truth and confession by co-opting the language of struggle, infusing labyrinthine logic with the authority of the academy, and coat-tailing very real struggles of transgender people and transracial adoptees to defend one’s deception.
This is a spectacular exercise in hubris, narcissism and deflection.”
“…one can not only like and want to emulate the look of another racial group (though, one must be ever-questioning of oneself as to what motivates this, making sure that it isn’t the outgrowth self-hatred), but one can even prefer the culture that developed around that look.
But changing appearance and even cross-cultural immersion doesn’t alter the architecture of race that gave birth to and reinforced those differences in the first place.
Dolezal’s performance of blackness may have been born of affinity, but it was based on a lie — one she has never sufficiently recanted — and her feeble attempts to use professorial language and faux-intellectual obfuscations only add insult to the cultural injury.”