I believe that the recent enormous to-do about Rachel Dolezal says more about the state of "race-relations," social segregation and racism (as well as transphobia) in our society than it says about the woman herself.
 
To those full of anger about the "appropriation" of black identity and use of resources and roles that are seen as reserved for "real" black people, I wish to point out the following:
 
Even if "white people" "posing" or "passing" as "black people" were a common enough phenomena to warrant strong concern about resources, (which is hardly the case as most white people are not interested in exchanging white privilege for "the black experience" or the few set-asides), it would still be the case that the real problem in this society is not the misuse of resources reserved for oppressed and under-privileged groups; rather the real problem is the oppression and inequality that makes it necessary in the first place to reserve resources for those who are denied or need to catch up with what others already have.  In other words, it is not people trying to join or identify with or become part of an oppressed class that is the real problem.  It is the oppression itself, (in this case, racism), that is the real problem.
 
For those who argue defensively against comparisons of "transracialism" with transsexualism with comments such as "As a white woman, Dolezal retains her privilege; she can take out the box braids and strip off the self-tanner and navigate the world without the stigma tied to actually being black. Her connection to racial oppression is something she has complete control over, a costume she can put on -- and take off -- as she pleases."…. please think about how much this same type of argument was used first by members of the African-American community to protest comparisons between black civil rights and gay civil rights… after all, "blacks can't remove their skin color, but gays don't have to look any different than anyone else… and they are making a choice, so it's not the same."
Likewise, transsexuals can stay in the closet and live a life that feels absolutely wrong to them, to avoid persecution.  But who, in their right mind, wants to live that way?
 
Regardless of cause (biology? delusion? choice? or the ways in which oppressive environments hurt ALL of us), if Rachel Dolezal came to identify so strongly with the African-American community that she essentially felt  like a black woman trapped inside a white body, it is understandable that people might see some parallels with transsexualism.  It is only in a defensive posture against transphobic ridicule, that transsexuals and allies feel the need to proclaim a huge difference, just as African-Americans did when they felt recognition for LGBT people would derail the black civil rights movement.  We are all fighting for crumbs instead of the whole pie for all. 
 
As to all the allegations of deception, if there is a possibility that Ms. Dolezal may have some mental health condition, perhaps delusions or a kind of factitious disorder, is she worthy of quite so much acrimony and rancor? 
 
If Rachel Dolezal is so completely estranged from a set of biological parents by whom she apparently felt unloved, and grew up in an environment (Mississippi &/or Main street USA) where there was a stark difference between life as an African-American and life as a European-American (known in this country as "white"), and she found herself with much more affinity with African-Americans and so estranged from the "white" people she observed that she wanted to be "black," and eventually enveloped herself so much in the African-American community (including forming surrogate parent relationships with people she trusted more than her bio-parents), that she came to feel and believe that she was black, then who are we to judge her as having deliberately and maliciously deceived everyone?
 
Finally those who protest how this issue has usurped media attention from more important issues like police brutality, please note that it was a Coeur d'Alene, Idaho reporter who went after her parents to break this story, not Ms. Dolezal herself.  I suggest that the best way to get U.S. &/or world attention back on track towards real issues of oppression and societal ills that need addressing, is to stop paying so much attention to (and re-posting) this issue.
 

 


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