Rachel Dolezal is neither a black woman nor a white one but an angel sent by God to jar us from our collective insanity.
Dolezal at least passes for Angela Davis’ younger sister. Bruce Jenner could pass for one of the Twisted Sisters, but that’s about it. We mock Dolezal’s claims of blackness yet rush to call Jenner, a still-musclebound six-foot-two-inch man, “Caitlyn.” Our dishonesty rises to the pathological level at least as much as Dolezal’s does. Spokane’s Sweet Black Angel merely lies to us. Caitlyn Jenner compels us all to pretend as a matter of politeness.
An age that accepts fiction as fact naturally finds Dolezal fielding offers to display her irreality on a reality television show. The a.m. TV talkers rush to conduct confessional interviews that elicit more dishonesty. On cue, reports of the obligatory sex tape surface.
Why do they hate us?
Before re-emerging as an Africana studies adjunct professor, NAACP chapter leader, Historically Black College graduate, and all-around Nubian princess, Dolezal grew up as a blue-eyed blonde on the mean streets of Troy, Montana (pop. 938), home to two black people and so out of the way that it served as a zombie-free “New Community” for a “New America” in the book World War Z. Troy, aka Harlem West, features a snowmobile club, a Booze N’ Bait, and, similar to riot-torn Baltimore, a curfew keeping troublesome youth off the streets, paved and otherwise, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The sign at the city limits informs, “lowest in elevation, highest in recreation.”
Surely Rachel Dolezal misunderstood Troy’s pride in “recreation.”
With neighbors as black as Barney Fife, and no television in the Dolezal household to beam in a vicarious black experience through Good Times or What’s Happening!!, it may be hard for some to understand why a five-year-old Dolezal reached for the brown crayon instead of the peach one when drawing herself or how she started her “self-identification with the black experience as a very young child.” But the issue, as Dolezal explains, remains “complex.” It’s a fake black thang. You wouldn’t understand.
Still, theories bounce around, at least in my white matter, about why Dolezal decided to go C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man.
Sibling jealousy? Dolezal lived, after fifteen years as the youngest, with several adopted black brothers. A mother’s love? She married an African American, and bore him children that society labels black. She didn’t take their father’s last name. But she made up for it by coopting their color. The hate that hate produced? She attended Howard University, which she claimed discriminated against her in employment because of her status as a pregnant Caucasian. Did the experience prompt her to take an if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em approach in her pursuit of a job in the civil-rights industry and other African-American specialties?
Bruce Jenner’s metamorphosis strikes as less understandable if more authentic. In other words, the Olympian, unlike the Spokane swindler, passes a lie detector test (if not as a female) when he tells the interviewer he is a woman though the interviewer plainly sees a man. Living among the Kardashians, a dysfunctional xx (and occasionally XXX) clan, might compel a normal man to resign his membership in the human race, not to adopt “I Am Woman” as his personal national anthem.
We hate Rachel because she makes a farce out of the woman we love, Caitlyn. If it’s so self-evident that a white person masquerading as a black person lives a lie that Time magazine uses such terms as “falsely” and “faking” in Dolezal headlines, why does Henry Luce’s baby hail Bruce Jenner for “telling his truth”?
Mouth-agape America watches in scornful astonishment as one woman fibs about her race. Much of the rest of the world watches in scornful astonishment as America lies to itself about an Olympian’s sex.
“As much as we’re concerned with Rachel’s identity issues,” Dolezal’s mom told CNN, “we’re also concerned with her integrity issues.” Integrity, evoking both one’s ethics and one’s wholeness, strikes as the perfect word here. A rebellion against biology—or, for the religiously inclined, God—so severe that it results in a denial of essence creates a violation of integrity in both interrelated senses of the word.
God made Rachel Dolezal a white woman. Did he then make her a black woman to force us to think about how absurd we have become?