6.12.2015

Rachel Dolezal, Appearance, Appropriation, and the Gender Transitioning Fallacy

One - I'm fairly certainly that woman is in hell right now.  I wonder if she's going to lose her job over this.

Two - Dolezal's situation got me thinking about a bunch of stuff.  For one, let's talk basic appearance.  Let's say her "ongoing legal battle" with her parents is about either not being their biological child or maybe mommy had an affair - whatever.  When you think about it, this picture of her -


- tells you nothing.  Or at least...not as much as you'd think.

Remember Karyn Parsons from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?  Peep her eldest - biological - child.


Aaaaaaand let's not forget our favorite - biological - twins from the UK, Maria and Lucy.  They share a Black (well, mixed) mother and a Caucasian father.


Now look back at Dolezal's picture.  See what I mean about it not really telling you anything?   Hell, anyone else remember Rachel ZaneAnybody?

So if she takes a genetic test whose results don't report in her favor, then the problem with Dolezal - you guess it - is the appropriation factor.  Per the allegations, she claimed to have a Black father.  She presented her Black foster sibling as her biological child.  She distanced herself from her real parents in order to maintain the facade.  And right as she was being busted, she started speaking victimese about supposed racist hate mail and started bringing up alleged hate crimes committed against her.  Dolezal made a conscious decision based on a social construct to use a false identity in her career and in her art (she claims to have sold paintings for thousands of dollars apiece).  Dolezal has literally profited from this little alter ego of hers - in ways she probably wouldn't have as an "openly" Caucasian woman - so I don't need to elaborate on just how problematic that is.

What I do want to elaborate on is Dolezal's divorce in 2004.  You can take the counselor out of the job, but you can't take the instincts out of the counselor.  See, we've been reading that she started to "change" after she parted ways with her Black husband (she claims he was abusive).  We've - quite noticeably - yet to hear from him, and whenever articles report these facts, it's two brief sentences near the beginning and then on to extensive paragraphs about her mom and career.

I say we should rewind.


What happened during that marriage?  You have a blonde, full-figured Caucasian woman married to a Black man.  They get divorced and she starts to alter her appearance: losing weight, darkening her skin, and working some sort of voodoo with her hair.  According to her parents, Dolezal was in full Negress Mode by 2006/2007.  One - why didn't they out her back then?  Why wait until she's gained a measure of financial success and professional prominence?  I'm always skeptical about that kind of timing.  I mean, was this mysterious legal battle of theirs not going so well for them?  Did they need a distraction to gain the upper hand?  And two - what happened during her marriage to make her think it was kosher to start doing this to herself????

Because we've actually seen stuff like this before; it's not as unusual as you would think.  Guy leaves heavy Girl for a twig; Girl loses half her weight (and soul) after the breakup*.  Girl leaves broke-to-average-paid Guy for a rich dude; Guy starts to hate all women.  Guy 1 leaves Guy 2 for Younger Guy; Guy 2 gets highlights and an eating disorder.  Butch Girl leaves Tomboy for Bubbly Femme; Tomboy actually pauses to consider growing her hair long and buying a dress...then says fuck that noise.

Black man divorces Caucasian wife, and so she does...this.

Why aren't more questions being asked about that?  Why are people so quick to gloss over this little tidbit about Dolezal?  I mean, when someone starts behaving strangely, aren't questions like, "When did that start?" or "What the hell caused that?!??" the first things we're supposed to ask?

And now for the final thing on my mind.  Did you know that children possess gender/transgender awareness by the time they're, like, toddlers?  So before they're old enough to give a shit about social "norms", or can pronounce words like "appropriation", or are able to consider things like marketing and all its lucrative benefits, they already know what gender they're really supposed to be.  That knowledge, that feeling, is based on a biological construct.  It's innate, and at that age, with zero fucks given to the social ramifications.

Dolezal deserves to be called out for her fraudulent self-representation.  Calling her a Black "trans sister", and putting her on equal footing with Caitlyn Jenner is detrimental all-around.  It misgenders Dolezal and Black women in general (i.e., it implies that since Dolezal decided to pose as a Black woman, then by definition she automatically became a transwoman...because the latest trend posits that cissexual Black women are a myth).  Secondly, it diminishes the very struggles of not just Jenner, but transgendered people everywhere.  Once again, it evokes that anti-LGBT trope of that "lifestyle" being a "choice", and that if Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered individuals simply chose to, they too could lead "normal" lives.

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*Seriously, y'all...I've witnessed ish like this first-hand and it is terrifying.  Two mutual acquaintances were fuck buddies.  After constantly reminding him their relationship was about sex only, Heavyset Girl started to catch feelings; Guy wanted to sleep with other people.  Guy and Girl parted ways unpleasantly; he mentioned in public circles that he found her body disgusting (which I never understood, considering how many times he willingly tapped that).  Heavyset Girl disappeared for a month and a half, came back with seemingly her whole midsection missing (arms, chest, and legs still fat).  Swore up and down she lost the pounds naturally.  Guy still didn't want her; Girl started visiting people at random hours of the night, talking about how great she was in the sack, and all the random one-night-stands she'd been racking up.  Basically had a sort of mental breakdown.

Girl has since regained double the weight.

15 comments:

  1. People are willing to throw trans women, black people, people with mental illness and transracial adoptees under the bus to defend this fraudulent white woman. These were deliberate lies, you don't accidentally darken your skin, get a fake afro, tell people your adopted brother is your son, give out fake pictures of your black father. She is not a victim. Her white privilege is obvious cause no one works this hard to give black women the benefit of the doubt.

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    1. Even as social media reacts towards her Afro Sheen moment, she still manages to come off as a Damsel in distress (The one caveat worth noting is that damsels can only be white). “This requirement is nonnegotiable,” says Eugene Robinson. Consequently, while a segment of black America reacts negatively (and rightly so) to her antics, there’s more than a few who affect instant empathy for what she’s going through. This has been a historic, “conditioned” reaction to white women since time immemorial.

      Her exposure notwithstanding, the fact that she’s white makes all the difference in this saga. For had this been a black woman passing for white she’d garner little sympathy from a nation which historically defines race in terms of white or black. As many Poc know, President Obama is biracial, but he’s 100% black in the eyes of most whites. Further, it may explain why some (whether conscious or no) have softened their stance towards her. Maybe it was white ambition that outed her. For some whites it’s perfectly natural to be at the head of a group of minorities. Its better this way (some whites say). Oftentimes whites are criticized as allies in the fight because of their tendency to appropriate the narrative. In their effort to keep the organization focused, to explore new ideas and become more inclusive, the struggle comes to be about them and their centrality.

      A biopic on her life is not far off, (of this we have no doubt). But the sad reality is, no one’s interested in a story about a black woman from humble beginnings who managed to pass for white. Privilege is something that will remain with Rachel Dolezal as long as she’s in that white skin. Moreover, “Privilege” is what motivated her to make up those stories about racial harassment, firstly: to keep her name in the public narrative, and secondly: to give her the authenticity she so desperately craved. “Privilege” is what convinced her to do what she was gonna do and she didn’t give two sh*ts what anyone thought. Her next piece should be a self-portrait, entitled: “Black woman, as viewed through a Privileged White lens.”

      It’s bad enough being black in a racist society, now we have a white woman who believes she’s blacker than most blacks. There's something inherently unique in being black. It’s not simply a matter of putting on makeup. If that were the case the NBA would be full of white men in blackface. Yet, putting on Blackface doesn’t make you LeBron James or Michael Jordan. Putting on Blackface doesn’t help you sing like Nina Simone, or dance like Michael Jackson. Smearing on “African American” doesn’t make one acquainted with the burdens/grief that blacks endure every day. Rubbing on "Black Culture" does not endow one with the wisdom, strength and the fortitude needed to persist in a racist society. Just ask John Howard Griffin, the author of Black Like Me.

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    2. " Her white privilege is obvious cause no one works this hard to give black women the benefit of the doubt."

      Thank You,I've been saying this since I heard about this story. If people thought she was a real black woman she would not be getting all this support and capping especially from black males. Hell if she were a real black woman and a real victim she be getting vilified right now.

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  2. I am very disappointed in the black community with some men/women capin' for her. Like really! You willing to accept all the lies and deceit to say, she down for us. In the first time in my life I wanted to throw the Black Community in the garbage for real.

    But then I went back into the Blackistan post and what Rose Z said.

    Rose ZMay 18, 2015 at 12:03 PM " If some non-black woman came out organizing and protesting for black males they would make her Queen, you would never stop hearing about her. She would be the Black Power Kim Kardashian."

    The Irony or "Irony Inception" of this whole mess.

    As for her husband, did they say how long they were married? I mean this man was writing/singing songs about how good her va jay jay was. What made him leave? Maybe her lies were too much even for him.

    --Meanie

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    1. She was still "white" when she was married. I wonder if he initiated the divorce. First, the rejection from Howard, then from her husband?

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    2. "I wonder if he initiated the divorce."

      I wonder if her "becoming a Black Woman" was the reason for the divorce. Some of these Black dudes take having that white woman prize very seriously.

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    3. I was thinking that also.

      --Meanie

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    4. @Rose Z-I wonder if her "becoming a Black Woman" was the reason for the divorce. Some of these Black dudes take having that white woman prize very seriously.

      I was thinking the same thing. He probably thought if he wanted a black woman then he would have gotten with one. He probably divorced her and found him a white woman who was happy with her whiteness.

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  3. This just in:
    Rachel Dolezal sued Howard for racial discrimination. Because she was white.

    Well well well... it seems the jig is up. Looks like the only one she truly cared about was her own damned self. She played the race card when she thought she might benefit from it. Its all making sense now. "I'll show them, I'll show them all! I'll turn myself into the best damned black woman they ever saw, then I'll go right back up to that school and make them kiss my "Black" ass (maniacal laugh).

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    1. Which reinforces is what I'm thinking about the mental breakdown angle. Because with this woman, I'm getting a strong cray-cray vibe.

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    2. "Which reinforces is what I'm thinking about the mental breakdown angle. Because with this woman, I'm getting a strong cray-cray vibe."

      Crazy like a Fox. If Privilege has taught her anything its this. Nobody is going to tell a white woman what she can and cannot do in this country. There's an old adage in the white community, it goes like this: "If you can't beat them, join them." What we call crazy, many whites see as Determination, Moxie, and Spunk. Catchy euphemisms for the type of aggression that won the West.

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    3. Yeah, exactly what is the threshold for white insanity? It's like there's nothing they can't do for people to say " this race is nuts, what the hell is wrong with them."

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  4. Its funny because Dr Drew pointed out that if she was stopped by the cops he bet she would suddenly become white again.

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    1. This is my take on this whole mess. Have the cops come for her, see what happens. Then we'll see what she really is.

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  5. "Its funny because Dr Drew pointed out that if she was stopped by the cops he bet she would suddenly become white again."

    Or would she?
    Not to suggest she wouldn't flip her script. However, the best test of her legitimacy as a black woman would be to partake of those experiences exclusive only to blacks. What does it tell her if she's harassed, questioned- or treated with derision by a bigoted policeman who thinks she’s black? To her it might very well say, "She's made it." Now she has a reasonable narrative. Now she can say unequivocally, “I know just what you're going through gurl. Why just today I was stopped by a racist cop...”

    Remember, we’re talking about a woman who so hungers for the Adversity that comes with black skin she was willing to fabric them. We’ve seen stories of women who purposely put themselves through all manner of hardship just for attention. I can see her saying to herself when the Officer stops her... “Finally!”

    Then again you might be right.

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