The Rachel Divide

Hey guys!
Today I want to have a quick chat about race and racism. I know that it's a very touchy subject but it's also incredibly important that we have it in our society in order for any positive change to happen.

I just got done with the documentary The Rachel Divide which is about a woman named Rachel Dolezal. If you don't know who that is or haven't heard her name before, there's a pretty good reason; she isn't known for anything that most people consider to be good. In 2015 a big controversy came to public attention, that a white woman named Rachel Dolezal claimed to be black. Now, it sounds really simple when put like that, but at least I think race is a very difficult subject, and not just in "black and white".

Please not that what follows is what I've been able to gather based on what I've seen and read. It's not research but an observation.

So starting from the beginning, and trust me, this isn't going to make much sense for you either; Rachel was born to white parents in Montana in 1977. She has an older, white brother, as well as four adopted black siblings. Supposedly (according to her and some siblings, although denied by her parents and other siblings), she was called evil by her parents because her mother had a difficult birth with her, whereas her brother's birth was easy peasy so he was saint like in their household. Her parents are very religious and supposedly it even says that Jesus Christ was the midwife during Rachels birth because her parents doesn't really believe in medicin (and that alone is bananas).
Growing up she felt like she was more related to her adoptive siblings rather than her biological one, and that they were all physically abused, usually whipped or beaten with cords or whips etc. Again, some children agree, whereas some don't.

She was a good student, and got approved for a full-ride scholarship to Howard University; a historically black college in Washington, D.C.. The UNI assumed she was black because of the way she spoke on the phone as well as recent studies and interests in African-American history and art. According to her father there were some objections on the UNI's part because they couldn't understand that they had just given a full-ride scholarship to a white girl, which, although I understand that this university might want to focus on black students having possibilities becuse of this scholarship, seems a little racist as well. So basically we already know that she's into the history and art of black people, as well as speaks and acts as one from very early on.

She later got married to a black man and had a son with him, as well as adopting one of her own siblings to help him move out from his abusive parents home.
Her friends are black, the part of the community she lives/lived in was black, her family was mostly black and the culture from all of these factors is something she was constantly around. The point I want to make with all of this is that... It's not possible to just be like "you're not black, get over it", because this is something that's been a part of her entire life and it's something that she because of that identifies as. I don't want to use the word trans-race because I personally think that's a bullshit term, but that's supposedly what she is.
And listen, I don't have anything at all against the term trans. I do think that people should know what it means to be trans, because it does explain a lot of behaviour that we see in society and psychology. Small lesson (I think I've gone over this before but it doesn't hurt to go over it again):
Trans and Cis are two words in latin that describes how something are.

The reason why I'm bringing this up is because when a child is created chromosomes are the ones that determine if the child is going to have boy parts or girl parts. One might not necessarily agree with the parts they've been given but there is a possibility that they are born with the "wrong" parts due to how we evolve in the uterus. After all, the boy chromosomes (XY) starts to develope at around 2 months, whereas the girl chromosomes (XX) are there from nearly the beginning. So basically; genetics and science.
However, race isn't something you can inherit if you don't literally actually inherit it. It's a fact if your parents are black, white or asian. Either they are, or they aren't. And in Rachel's case, they're white. So physically there aren't any genes that could make her feel like the other side than the one she's born on. Physically, she is white. Trans-race is not a thing.

Mentally is a whole other story; it's very much possible for her to feel like she's another race based on her upbringing, the people she interact with and the culture that brings. I absolutely do think that she can feel like a valid part of that society because it's something she's used to. So from that point, I totally understand what she's saying. She feels like a part of the culture that she grew up with. Does it make her black? No. Does it make her feel like she belongs with something she easily relates to? Yes.

But here's the thing; she's taking it to a whole other level than the one that should be "allowed" in this case. She easily could have gotten away with just saying "oh I relate to these people", but she always seems to come up with new stories, new lies, new memories to keep people interested and seem legit. It's kinda like the almost-virgin who's like "omg I get so much pussy everywhere I go, I have so much sex all the time and women love me, trust me I know what I'm doing. I also have a crazy big car", but we all know that the closest thing he's come to a vagina is fingering his drunk second cousin at a beach party. Like, just be honest with yourself and we'll all agree with what you're selling.

Among all of the lies she's told, here are some of my favorites:

  • Her real, black, dad was chased away by a white cop, and he ran into the jungle too scared to ever come back. So her "biological" (real, actual biological) dad is only her stepdad.
  • She has vivid memories of when her parents stole her from Africa.
  • Her family lived on the Montana mountains without neighbors and electricity and they had to grow their own food, as well as hunt with bow and arrow while living in a teepee.
  • She was being harassed and threatened because of her "new" "race". This is in reality incredibly sad because when the police investigated the whole thing, they found out that she was the ones mailing the threats to herself as to make it seem like racism was a growing issue, in order for people to be more openly accepting to all races and to prove that this is a serious problem non-white people face each day. So basically she threatened herself to prove that other people are dangerous, even though that's not at all the case.
Oh and trust me when I say this, there's a shitload more if you look it up; she had to kill hens and chickens on her own and then she and her brother used to use the heads as soccer balls, she used to wear only rags or pelt, she was once forced to eat her own vomit, and she's been sexually assaulted. If these are true then that's really, truly aweful. But she's the only one claiming that it is true, despite the evidence saying otherwise.

Throughout the years she's been an active member in the society working with questions regarding race, and she's done a great job for the community, but all that changed when she said "I am black". She lost her job and she hasn't been able to get a new one because nobody wants to hire a infamous public figure, and all of her friends and family members have given up on her, and she doesn't have anywhere to live from time to time. All of this because of something that I think could have been avoided if she phrased it another way. By saying "I am black", you're dismissing all of the hardships that black people has had to go through, and still go through, and you're offending the people that you so desperately want to accept you. It's not a lie that there are some injustice and non-equality in our society when it comes to race, I know that I'm very lucky to be born white because I usually have other possibilities than other people have, so to have all of these privileges and say "oh well I absolutely know how you feel, it's totally the same", even though it's clearly not, is really offensive, rude and hurtful.
I hate the term privilege because society (mostly tumblr) has turned it in to something so bad, like you really shouldn't have any privileges because if you do, then you're a shitty person who can't appreciate what you have because other people have it worse than you. But unfortunately that's exactly what this is about; she has other possibilities and privileges than the people she wants to be around, and instead of accepting this and going "yeah, you're right, we are different and have different options but I'm still on your side", she's like "oh no I don't have that at all, I'm treated exactly as bad as you are", even though you might get away with having a small bag of pot in your jacket, but a black person has to go straight to jail without passing go and collecting $200. That is white privilege.

I also want to point out that no racism is okay. Not against black people, white people, asian people and so on.

I just really wanted to write about this because it bothers me the way that she's treated, yet I totally understand why she's being treated the way she is.
Rachel, in case you ever read this, you need to understand that you have a better situation than other people have, and although you're working hard to help equality, you should know that you are privileged and you're taking away the struggle and hardship that black people go through by denying that. You can feel like you belong in any culture you want, just as long as you do it in a respectful way and don't tell lies to gain pitty points.

And to everybody else; make sure to read up on both sides of every argument. One side might be black, and one might be white but it's important to know both of them.

Picture borrowed from CNN.

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