I feel obligated to write about this story because it has been all over the news lately, but to be honest, I really don’t understand it.
CBS News in Seattle, Washington, is reporting that Rachel Dolezal is resigning as the leader of the NAACP in Spokane after it was discovered that she had lied about her racial heritage for the past 37 years.
The article reports:
Meanwhile, Spokane is investigating whether she lied about her ethnicity when she landed an appointment to the city’s police oversight board. On her application, she said her ethnic origins included white, black and American Indian.
Dolezal, a 37-year-old woman with a light brown complexion and dark curly hair, attended historically black Howard University, teaches African studies at a local university and was married to a black man. For years, she has publicly complained of being the victim of racial harassment in the heavily white region.
The uproar over racial authenticity and professional honesty unfolded last week after Dolezal’s parents told the media their daughter is white with a trace of Native American heritage. They produced photos of her as girl with a pale complexion and straight blond hair.
Her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal of Troy, Montana, told reporters she has had no contact with her daughter in years. She said Rachel began to “disguise herself” after her parents adopted four African-American children more than a decade ago.
Although I do not think it was right for her to lie about her background, I really don’t understand the issue. She wanted to work for civil rights. She obviously felt that she could do a better job of that as a member of the minority she was interested in helping. I have a problem with her lying, I don’t have a problem with her working for the NAACP. I do, however, wonder if she would have been elected to head the local NAACP chapter if she had been white. That is what we should be thinking about. Do you have to be the same race as another person to understand the struggles of that race and to want to help? Maybe we all need to look at the unintentional segregation we put on ourselves and instead start thinking about which people want to make things better, not who is what color.