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Author Topic: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy  (Read 8609 times)

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Offline kylie

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #50 on: June 16, 2015, 10:08:25 PM »
      I understand a little about the historical use of "blackface" in the media to belittle and marginalize Black people/culture, but I'm not clear that there's evidence that what Dolezal has done is similar.  However, I am really just getting started peeking into that.  A bit distracted, lately.

      I imagine it's possible that she has won some tangible benefits through deception if indeed she has deceived the University (based on the terms of its own requirements) and so on...  But I also think part of the problem marginalized groups generally face is attempting to confront existing terms with personal experience.  Some people see this as an affront to contract law, and others see it more as an assertion of self-identity by people who may not have any place to "honestly" legally go in the way law and society operate today.  And probably some of the critics of people in such situations, would change their own minds in other very comparable cases, if just one or two factors changed which they aren't used to considering. 

     I don't think it helps much to insist upon a long history of expressed self-identification, "being out", "passing," precisely identical suffering (as if one's broken toe hurts "less" to them than the other's smashed face to the other?) or some arbitrary level of sacrifice.  To me, identity doesn't boil down to tracking people over long time frames.  It isn't that simple and I don't really believe it should be.  People change, people get confused, people experiment.  And society and the company we keep changes too.  Look at who does and doesn't get "read" as Black (I mean people currently, popularly considered ethnically Black, who aren't attempting any sort of conscious transition project), see how many ways they can change-nuance-flavor it and how many ways it changes depending on the company they happen to be with even among Blacks (conversations about who/what is "most" Black or what kind/style of Black anyone?). 

Note that isn't limited to Blacks: All communities do it, and it can be ugly or it can be just a low background growling.  With the more marginalized people, who sometimes really have no place with a label that anticipates them at all, often sulking silently or getting branded cheats and wannabes.

       If when we generally discuss and argue about what's going on in the world:  We wish others would change their politics, their affiliations, their ways of living, and we want them to consider living in others' shoes seriously...  Then, what is with this simultaneous demand to pick a "side" and stick with it or else you haven't paid your dues long enough so shut up?  If people aren't allowed to participate, and/or to honestly attempt to explain how they understand another community to the best of their knowledge, mainly on the basis that they haven't "behaved [whatever is locally, normally]" for whatever group long enough (and long enough is often a very long time -- like since childhood in this case?)...  Then is it any surprise that when they adopt whatever slice of another identity or experience, they get branded as mistakes or interlopers?  And that goes for many of the communities involved.
 
      Is what Dolezal in particular has been up to at any particular time very ethical?  Has she been consistent or changed through whatever durations and episodes?  I really have no idea yet.  But the language and requirements and demands tossed at some of this?  Yes, they do remind me of stuff transgender and queer often face.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 10:16:39 PM by kylie »

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #51 on: June 16, 2015, 11:25:03 PM »
Kylie, that was actually a lovely post and I think you articulated your points a lot better than I've been doing.  It was also refreshing to see someone making points similar to the ones I've been making.

Cycle and Callie Del Noire, I said earlier in the thread that I didn't necessarily agree with Donezal getting a scholarship under the pretense of being a black person.  If we're going to characterize her in a negative way I suppose you could say at best she is someone who has mental issues.

As far s how much damage she has done to black people and the black community.  Lets try to look at it objectively.  It has been said that she did a lot of good while at the NAACP, however for the sake of argument lets dismiss that and say its not important or it doesn't matter because shes not really black.  You could say she stole a scholarship from a black person who 'deserved it'.  So in reality she affected one black person.  Unless there is some kind of epidemic that I'm unaware of where white women in hoards are pretending to be black so they can steal black scholarships. 

So all this boils down to one woman who at best took a scholarship from one black person.  Now think of all the media and social 'outrage'.  As I mentioned earlier I watched close to 3 hours of CNN tonight where the majority of discussion was about Donezal.  That isn't mentioning the weeks that the media has been harping on this.  Is the level out outrage and reaction proportionate to the damage that Donezal has done? 

Offline Cycle

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #52 on: June 16, 2015, 11:47:13 PM »
So you concede this statement is wrong?

Dolezal however... Is not contributing to a single one of those things. 


Offline IntensePlayer

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2015, 12:38:20 AM »
Cycle, I've already said a few times now that I don't necessarily agree with her getting a scholarship by leading the university to believe she was black.  Do I concede my point?  No.  It is something that affected one person.  I'll give you an example.  Just because a black man steals from a store that happened to be owned by a white man doesn't mean that the  ENTIRE white community is being negatively impacted by the existence of that one black person.  It was a crime that was committed by criminal.  Not everything that happens needs to be this great racial and social cause.  Sometimes messed up things just happened, and at best that is what this is.

Offline Cassandra LeMay

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2015, 02:00:10 AM »
Two thoughts I'd like to offer to the debate:

One, concerning any parallels between Ms. Dolezal's case and trans people: Those analogies may hold water, but only up to a point. If someone feels they are a different gender inside than what their body looks like that's about them, and them alone. If someone who is white feels like a black person inside that is, again, about them alone. But if someone tells people for a fact that they are of African-American heritage they are not just making a statement about themselves. It is also a statement about their family and ancestors and while Ms. Dolezal may feel black inside, that does not give her the right to misrepresent her parents' ethnicity.

Two, I find the way she dealt with the whole furore rather annoying, based on this statement she made some days ago:
Quote
KREM 2 News asked to address the public sentiment that she misrepresented her race.

"I can understand that. And like I said, it's more important to me to clarify that to the black community, and with my executive board, than it really is for me to explain it to a community that I quite frankly don't think understands the definitions of race and ethnicity," said Dolezal.
Source

I am tempted to applaud her for setting priorities for herself and saying that she doesn't have to explain herself to everyone and their grandma. She really doesn't. It's her life and the media furore strikes me as rather overblown. But To justify not explaining herself by saying that a certain community doesn't even get the definitions of race and ethnicity? That's a bit rich. White people not really getting what it is like to be black? That I could accept. But just saying that people outside the black community are not capable of even understanding the definitions of race and ethnicity? I find that rather insulting and being quite contrary to what I feel a person in her position should actually try to achieve, i.e. a better understanding of these terms and related problems in the general public.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 04:31:21 AM by Cassandra LeMay »

Offline consortium11Topic starter

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2015, 09:54:09 AM »
As a side note Ms. Donezal is now saying that she's not certain that her parents are actually her parents on account of never having seen a DNA test proving it.

On a more relevant point...

One of the points mentioned here that I largely agree with is that regardless of how someone feels inside or what race they think they should be they haven't lived or experienced life as that race, both positively and negatively. If someone who is white as the driven snow starts to identify as black then while they may well feel black on the inside (whatever that means) they can't really talk about the "black experience" as they haven't lived it; one can't exactly talk about one's experiences living as a person of colour when to the world at large you appear white and will be treated as such.

I'm just not sure that really applies in this case.

Mz. Donezal hasn't just declared that she feels "black" (whatever that may be) but has taken steps, deceptively or not, to appear that way. It's unclear exactly when that started; she claims she's identified as black since she was about five but considering she sued Howard University for discriminating against her on the basis she was white that looks somewhat unreliable. More likely it started later and became far more open when she moved to Spokane in 2011 and started a new life in pretty much every sense of the word (including the new "father"). I don't think anyone disputes that she grew up deeply immersed in African American (although she doesn't identify as African American but as black) culture and since 2011 has presented herself as being black; if before this whole controversy broke someone posted up a picture of her and said "she doesn't look black to me" I imagine that person would have been rounded on and criticized for doing so. Perhaps she could be said to have "pale privilege" (or whatever the term may be) on account of a somewhat light complexion but that would also include a lot of people who are not being deceptive about their race, were born to black parents but have lighter skin.

So I guess the question reverts back to the most basic one.

What is race and how and why is someone of a certain race?

If someone identifies as black, is immersed in black culture, has changed their appearance so they look black and thus has lived as a black person (with all the good and bad things that come from it) for years have they become black? Can they become black? If race is about culture, treatment and perception then is someone who is perceived as black, treated as black and living that culture black?

Beyond that, what is "black" as opposed to "African American"? Obviously the life experiences of someone with black skin living in say Ethiopia or Kenya will be massively different from those of someone with black skin living in the USA. Ms. Donezal's been careful not to say that she's "African-American" but to say she's "black" and it strikes me as very US-centric to conflate the two. Is there a difference? What is that difference?

On another side note, the point about suing Howard University seems to blow another hole in the story about her getting a scholarship reserved for African-American students. From what I understand while she did get a scholarship to go there it was not one awarded on the basis of race; questions as to racial identity were not asked. Considering that she attended Howard University at roughly the same time she got married (and looked like this) I think the first day she walked onto campus serious questions would have been asked if the scholarship was awarded on the basis of race.

Offline kylie

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2015, 10:16:21 AM »
Two thoughts I'd like to offer to the debate:

One, concerning any parallels between Ms. Dolezal's case and trans people: Those analogies may hold water, but only up to a point. If someone feels they are a different gender inside than what their body looks like that's about them, and them alone. If someone who is white feels like a black person inside that is, again, about them alone. But if someone tells people for a fact that they are of African-American heritage they are not just making a statement about themselves. It is also a statement about their family and ancestors and while Ms. Dolezal may feel black inside, that does not give her the right to misrepresent her parents' ethnicity.
     
       Again I don't know a whole lot about this story.  I'm just picking up bits and pieces here and there.  But I'm very curious about the sorts of boundaries and definitions that get trotted out in the arguments.  What is "heritage," or what part of the story are you pointing to exactly?  Heritage can refer to parents' practices, or family history.  Or it can refer to practices people adopt and identify with.  A person saying they themselves belong to a certain heritage is not necessarily always a claim to a family history, so much as a claim to belonging with, adopting, and continuing certain affiliations and practices.  This is one of those words like "culture" or even "ethnicity" which has more than one side.  It's often very elusive and too often others assume that it just must refer to the one facet they happen to have in mind, without checking.

    I don't see very much in the article you linked below that regarding what she has said about her parents.  My first reaction was, was she perhaps talking about who is and isn't her parents more in the way we speak of chosen, as opposed to biological, families and communities??  But even if she has deceived people in the common sense of the word...  I think it's also possible to argue that there comes a point when most identities involve a certain level of deception, if often by omission and allowing others to go on thinking whatever they comfortably assume.  Is a trans person really obligated to inform everyone who asks about their whole history and perhaps what degree of surgery or chemical changes they have had?  Even if people say yes, I believe that in practice, with most identities, there is a point where this all ends.  There are times when people just shrug and smile or make cute quips and very indirect, guiding hinting vague comments about life.  We, I mean most people at some point, often do not give full disclosure of everything people want to know to pick at our "bona fides" endlessly throughout life.  And it's very often understood that doing so is good for keeping one's job, keeping one's dignity rather than being excluded or laughed at, avoiding conflict in one's home, having a better chance to be elected to leadership, and staying out of harm's way when sometimes people are simply clueless or viciously nasty about those questions. 

     So while I understand the sentiment that some types of information are important to verify from certain angles...  I'm wondering a bit whether we should be so quick to jump on people if they have used something like a plausible story about family history to get in a position to live and get things done.  I can see at least some scenarios -- quite many, really -- where one white lie about family history saves a whole lot of fuss.  How different is that in practice from all the things that so many of us let others "just go on believing" or "refuse to answer" or know "just what to say" to avoid trouble but don't tell everyone what they really would like to pick at?? 

     Now, what exactly Dolezal herself has done after that, or what she has done with it?  If people have problems with that, then that might be something to pick through.  But simply having deceived people about one facet -- what is the obsession with family as a marker?  "Are you a natural blonde?  Tell me now or you are lying to gain advantage!  How many cups of coffee do you drink every day -- tell me the truth, are you an addict?!  What did you weigh ten years ago?  I want pictures!  Did you ever smoke marijuana?"  I think it's very interesting where people draw the lines on this stuff.  As if there must be some sort of particular misdirection which is automatically worse all the others.  I would be more worried about what exactly is the misdirection for and what becomes so notorious there.
     
     One thing that strikes me about the "biracial" claim and Dolezal's imagery is that she has apparently passed for some time by so many other common measures.  She rose to the head of an NAACP chapter at least partly on her visual appearance, if not (I'm not yet sure yes or no) on that sort of family history/blood claim.  If anything, I think there must be some bitterness that this also exposes how some "acceptable to the mainstream" ideal of beauty and skin tone is so likely to be in positions of leadership and granted the opportunity to be taken seriously as a public representative.  And there are parallels with many communities here: The gay rights movement is eager to put forward supposedly "middle class," clean ethnically (dress, mannerisms, ideal job as much as race) "whiter" couples (even in some places like Hawaii where in fact that mix doesn't line up so well with the local demographic range). The trans community often wants people who are transitioning, ideally people who pass. The BDSM community fairly often does too, if you get down to how many inside respond to those trans/GQ who aren't so committed to immediately transitioning. 

       So I can't help suspecting that at least part of the upset with Dolezal could spring from her exposing the fact that a widely accepted "ideal" public face of diversity is often, something more "mixed" and "ambiguous," a step closer in this case to White than to darker tones and a step closer to white collar imagery than to "street" or what have you.  And then, who wants to admit that Eastern European features are considered "exotic" in the popular imagination in many ways that overlap with how Black is...  Maybe once "exotic" becomes chic and chic becomes a route to a more public voice, anyone under that broader term "exotic" can easily pass.  And that's not inclusive for everyone in an ethnic group, and it's not comforting for those who want to assert a "uniquely unique" experience either (echoes of how Japan rambles about how only Japanese blood lets anyone "get it").

Quote
But To justify not explaining herself by saying that a certain community doesn't even get the definitions of race and ethnicity? That's a bit rich. White people not really getting what it is like to be black? That I could accept. But just saying that people outside the black community are not capable of even understanding the definitions of race and ethnicity? I find that rather insulting and being quite contrary to what I feel a person in her position should actually try to achieve, i.e. a better understanding of these terms and related problems in the general public.

       Eh...  I suppose people may find it insulting, but then I think lots of people are easily insulted by people pointing out stuff that's true.  Which things require "more tact," and which things can be said nicely without being missed or brushed off completely?  In fact, I believe many Whites don't understand race and ethnicity functionally, in the sense that they haven't had incentives and interactions to see/feel too concerned with many ways it works.  How many people insist there is no such thing as race anymore?  How many are unaware of institutional racism like redlining and employer address checking?  How many believe that everyone only really can have one race, let alone one racial identity?  In shorthand, I think it makes some sense when she says they don't know what it is.  And what's more?  I think minority communities also sometimes work to deny ways that some of their people identify and experience and believe how race plays out.  It isn't a problem limited to Whites, though it does have different particulars for different groups and different questions.  There are some distinct ways many Whites don't get it and they may just shrug or try to contain it, and then there are ways minorities try to shape and frame and control it (and some seem to just not get it?), as well. 

      The real messiness is that so godawful many people leap to call that simply a "definition" problem, as if looking it up in one perfect dictionary would instantly clarify everything for the uneducated.  It's more of a theory problem, a lack of ability to compare and notice similarities beyond the label on each community's fence, and a political philosophy problem.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 10:33:30 AM by kylie »

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2015, 03:13:57 PM »
Kylie, once again you made some great points, and once again I pretty much agree with everything you wrote. 

I just wanted to add that I think a lot of people take public opinion into how the feel or how they judge a situation.  Even in this thread there have been a few people who have said race identity is totally different than sexual identity, how it is 'hurtful' to have people compare transgender with what is happening with Donezal.  Now I've never said that they're the same issue, but I don't really see it as a sexual issue, or even a racial issue, but more of a human rights issue.  People who are transgender deal with all sorts of discrimination, prejudice, and sexism just for openly trying to be who they are.  I would have thought that on some level they would have been able to sympathize with another human being who is also just trying to express herself and is just being brutalized by the media, social media, and popular opinion.

Kylie you also mentioned Japan briefly, and honestly I think that in itself is a very interesting discussion, and in part it relates to what I've been saying.  Popular opinion does influence how people judge a situation.  For example in Germany when they teach history and about the war, they talk about the Nazis, the things they did and give a clearer view of what happened.  Not only that but Germany as a whole has apologized for what the Nazis did many times over.  Not only that but a lot of nazis were tried for war crimes.  Not to mention there have been numerous movies about the holocaust, so in terms of what the Nazis did, most of the world is on the same page (I say most because there is still a minority who are holocaust deniers).

Now..  When we think about Japan usually the thing that comes to most people's mind is Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.  The bombs being dropped on a civilian population was just.. A terrible terrible thing, and since then America has acknowledged and apologized for it many times.

Japan actually has a very dark past, some of the atrocities they committed put even the nazi's to shame, not to mention they can be very openly racist as a culture.  The problem is most people seem to whitewash these things because "Well... My Anime comes from there, and I really like anime" or "I love my playstation, and playstation comes from Japan."  In terms of popular opinion Japan is a pretty cool place.  The reality is that there is a lot wrong with japan.  You had briefly mentioned how some Japanese go on about 'Japanese blood'.  The level of open racism there is pretty crazy.  To this day they have 'Japanese only' establishments in japan.  That would be like stores in the states that were for 'Whites only'  I have a friend who lived in japan for a few years since, he was in the military and is actually married to a half Japanese woman, and he experienced a fair share of open racism just because he was white.  It wasn't even an issue since its just one of those things that is the norm over there. 

Pretty much every nation in the world has apologized for their atrocities except Japan.  Sure they have put out general statements but they've never talked about specifics.  They've never officially apologized for Nanking.. Hell, just in the last decade or two alone there have been people in Japanese parliament who have made public statements about 'the Nanking hoax'  Everyone knows about what the Nazi's did but most people have no idea what Unit 731 is.  Basically it was biological warfare on human beings.  Things like exposing people to antrax, various other viruses and disease.  Exposing pregnant women to viruses like that to see what happens to the child when the other is dying, as the mother is dying, after the mother is dead.  Doing all sorts of brutal experiments on people and children without anesthesia.  (Here is a link for anyone that is actually interested in finding out more about it.  Just be warned it isn't easy to read, Unit 731 is one of those things that I wish I could unlearn. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731 ) They killed something like 12,000 men women and children, all under some of the brutal conditions I mentioned earlier.  70% of the victims were Chinese, around 30% Russian and there were even a few Allied soldiers in there.  My point is that Japan has never acknowledged or addressed this.  When they teach WW2 history in Japanese schools they acknowledge Unit 731 but pretty much gloss over what they actually did.  Worst of all not a SINGLE member of Unit 731 were tried for war crimes.  After the war ended they just... Went home.  I've seen documentaries that have interviewed some of the members of Unit 731 and they pretty much all said how they don't see anything wrong with what they did because it was 'for the country' and if given the chance they'd do the same all over again.  Now I don't want to imply that there is NO remorse.  There have been soldiers who were involved who have openly apologized.  I remember reading about a Japanese Soldier who publicly apologized for his role in Nanking.  Japan as a whole however has never addressed that issue, or even Unit 731.  I mean can you imagine if the Nazis who were involved in the holocaust were were just allowed to go home and live their lives without any repercussions?  The world would be in an uproar.

A few years back I actually believe there was a Hollywood movie about Nanking.. I believe Christian Bale was starring in it.. Though for the most part the movie itself was ignored.  Which circles me back to the point I was making earlier.  People have a harder time being critical and objective about things they have an affinity for.  Japanese pop culture in America is pretty big these days.  Majority of the numerous 'cons' that happen all over the country are enriched with Japanese culture.  Of course there is nothing wrong with that, I do believe that Japan has a unique and interesting culture, but just because it does doesn't mean that they can just ignore all the atrocities they committed.  Nanking for example is still a very sensitive subject, not simply because it happened but because there has really been no real closure or acknowledgement of it.  Why don't people speak about this?  Because it isn't popular opinion, so people just let it slide.  Even though Donezal is one person who for the most part has actually had a positive impact on the black community, its just not popular to voice an opinion that supports her.  Even in this thread I believe I've mentioned that I'm for racial equality, and sexual equality, and am pro LGBT, though my opinion on this particular subject seems to go in the opposite direction of popular opinion, and as such I've been accused of not understanding racial issues, my own race has been brought into question even though it has nothing to do with what I'm saying, and its even been implied that my opinions are hurtful to the LGBT community simply because I see similarities between Donezal and Bruce Jenner.  So far I don't believe I have said anything that is anti black, or anti LGBT, all I have done is try to defend a person's right of choice.  I'm not even saying I agree with her choice, just that she should have the right to make it.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #58 on: June 17, 2015, 08:06:26 PM »
I think the issue of identifying as a race that differs from one's physical bloodline needs to be separated from Donezal's specific case. Donezal appears to be guilty of fraud and should probably be arrested and thrown in jail if it can be proven that she did in fact steal resources that she was not entitled to. At minimum, she should be made to pay pack what she stole along with a hefty fine. Her belief that she is black however, is not a crime. It's her right to hold her own identity whether others agree or not.

With regard to white people identifying as black, what is the exact critera that allows a person to identify as being black,  and do all black-skinned people meet this criteria? Does having dark skin qualify a person, or must they also be blood relatives to black people who were once enslaved in the United States? This question is intended to illustrate a flaw in the argument that only black people may identify as being black.

Offline Juggtacular

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #59 on: June 17, 2015, 08:38:05 PM »
I haven't read all the comments on here, but as a black man I'd like to give my 2 cents.

Firstly, she is simply wrong. Whether she lied about being black, hispanic, asian, etc... The fact is she lied to official people and took money not for her. And her family has mentioned several times they were never hurting for money. In fact her own adopted brothers said she was very privileged growing up.

Secondly, this entire situation is as much the NAACP's fault as hers. I've seen mixed races of all kinds before. Grown up with them, gone to school with them, worked with them, made friends, lovers, etc... And she is a white lady with processed hair and a bad tan. There is no way anyone without cataracts or total blindness can look at her and tell she's not even a tiny bit black. The man who's position she took over said "He took her word" for it. She showed him some pictures and apparently that was that.

Third, the way she has used and manipulated her family is also just indication that no matter what her mental state is, she's not a good person. She somehow coerced her brother into pretending to be her son, and told him as well as another brother not to "blow her cover". Seems like she was treating this like mission or something. Also she's mad her parents did he right thing and ousted her for her actions? She's mad they did their job? It's literally become meme worthy.



And beyond all that, the heart of the matter. She identifies as black. When asked about her race she constantly danced around the question like she was ashamed of being white. And even when admitting it, wouldn't fully admit it. The way I see it is that no matter what she identifies with, what she is is a white woman. I had this conversation with someone else who asked what the difference was between her feeling like she was black and a man or woman feeling they're not the right gender. Because clearly these issues have parallels. You're born this way, but feel you should be another for whatever reason.

  Well while I have no problem with anyone in the LGBT community(I know it sounds cliche but I have a ton of gay/lesbian friends and know 2 undergoing gender corrective surgery at the moment, one mtf and the other ftm).  As gender is simply man vs woman, it's a bit simpler than the race issue. The scientific/biological fact is that despite what you feel, you were born a certain way.  A man who becomes a woman through surgery is still not a woman in anything beyond looks as he can't birth children or produce breast milk. A woman who transitions is not truly a man as she can't produce sperm and impregnate other females. It makes you feel better, makes you feel more natural, but it's only cosmetic. And that's just gender. When it comes to race it's a similar, yet entirely different beast.

She was born  and raised as a privileged white girl, until suddenly she just felt like being black. Well getting a nose ring, kinking your hair, and getting a bad spray tan doesn't make you black. Pretending your adopted black brother is your son doesn't make you black. Taking a picture with a black guy and claiming he's your real father doesn't make you black. Remember Tropic Thunder when Robert Downey Jr. was an extreme method actor who went under the knife to get black pigment in his skin to better portray a black character? It was  pointed out several times by an actual black guy(it was one of the main side running plots in the movie) that despite what he looked and acted like, he wasn't black and he needed to get that through his head.

 The same goes for her. Putting on face paint in the form of a tan doesn't suddenly bring you into the black race and culture. She still never had ancestors suffer such indignities. She apparently had nooses left on her door or something, but a noose was never used on her family. It was used on the people she's trying to imitate and assimilate with. She still doesn't have to deal with systematic abuse and oppression by the American system like black people do. She could just get rid of the tan and go back to being white if she ever go in trouble by someone dumb enough to think she was black. Because she only kinda sorta looked black, but she wasn't.

Because it just doesn't work that way. As I said, I'm black. If I put on powder makeup, and a blond wig and call myself Johnathan Hermitage or something, it doesn't suddenly mean I'll stop getting harassed by police. It doesn't mean I'll suddenly get preferential treatment. It doesn't mean I can get away with doing stuff a black guy would never get away with. It doesn't mean I'll suddenly come from old money. Because under all that acting, I'm still just a black guy.

She can want to identify with black as much as she wants. She can listen to hip hop and old negro spirituals, she can protest, she can fight for civil rights, she can go down to the corner spot to get some hot cheetos and a scratch off ticket. She can do any stereotypical or non-stereotypical, any proud or shameful "black" thing she wants. But she's not black, never was, never can be, never will be. Because the simple fact is when both your parents are white, and all of their predecessors on both sides of your family have been white...you're white. Plain and simple. In fact, I think her mom said she was German. So she's even further from black.


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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #60 on: June 17, 2015, 08:49:20 PM »
What is "black"?

Someone asked.

Black is a very vague term that has been used to describe people of Sub Saharan descent and share facial features that are typically associated with them. In America, being "black" is about sharing the same ancestral history, traditions, and culture that has come with being separated from our ethnic roots and re-creating what are ancestors knew and were forced to conform to. You can't just wake up one day and say that you're black. Being a black American is an experience and doesn't even necessarily apply to people in Latin America who share the same ancestral background. However, its very easy for us to identity for say (examples) a black person from Brazil, Panama, Cuba, etc. Because our ancestors were on the same boats, stripped of same cultural similarities and forced to learn a new language and culture and build from that.

It offends me that someone would just say they're black to find the very few benefits that I receive for being a black person in America (which isn't a lot). Its fine to appreciate a different culture, integrate, learn, and accept, but its not beneficial to them.

It's taken a lot for black American's to find a culture, a voice, and a meaning. Its not something you can just feel, its something that is an experience and birth. There are a lot of hardships with being black and I'm pretty sure no one wants to just have those issues for no reason, its insane. As I've said previously, its always trended for a white person to nap their hair and wear it how we would, but never get the same ridicule like we do for having the hair we were born with and having to wear it certain ways so it won't fall out. A lot of black people get fired or asked to change their hair to a more professional appearance because apparently keeping it braided, dreaded, or natural isn't professional and seen dirty. It's okay for a white person to tan to darken their skin, but dark skin on someone who can't help it is considered ugly.

I can go on and on about how America has stripped black people of identity, culture, language and taken it and changing it into something different to where as if we even try to claim it, we're called names (especially racist).

And let me get something clear with people who are trying to define my culture and people. The difference between black in Africa and black in America/Latin America is because there are so many different cultures and ethnic backgrounds that it is very easy to differentiate who we are and how different we are from black Africans. Black people in Africa don't need to say that they're black because they have countries and tribes to associate themselves with that makes them different, we don't have that. It's also pretty rare that a black American can trace their lineage to a specific group without the money to take the DNA test and even then, its all over the place.

Most Africans(even though they are plagued with European colonialism) don't need try and remember their culture, language, or traditions because they have lived that life without many problems (even though I have a problem with a lot of them being Christian, that's for a different topic). So yes, there is a difference between those that are ancestors of the ones that were not sold and forced onto boats, killed, raped, stripped of rights and humanity and those that are the product of rape and a terrible past. Many of us are trying to do well and a lot of what we do well is Music, dance, poetry, etc, etc and America has done one hell of a job try strip us of what is positive about our culture.

Another issue I have is that the American educational system does not do us a favor with history classes. They do not tell the truth and they skim over everything. To actually even learn about black American inventors(not the one about peanut butter) but the one that performed the first open heart surgery successfully, air conditioning unit, blood plasma bag, door knob, elevator, gas mask, typewriter, etc etc that wouldn't teach kids because we're the tragic group of people that went through slavery and had to get lots of help to have rights. Keeping the real information away is why we have things like "black history month" that people get so agitated with...even though I can name plenty of other months that honor different cultures(but somehow everyone has a problem with Black History Month). This wouldn't be a problem if America wasn't so fucking afraid of our existence and stopped acting like my ancestors didn't contribute to this society.

inventions
Inventors

Its easier for society to think that we're a bunch of uneducated fools looking for handouts, rather than to come to terms that we're human beings that are very capable.

So yes, its very annoying and disrespectful when a white person born of immediate privilege decides that my culture, history, and hardships are now theirs because we're "cool".

Now apparently she's bisexual
http://www.people.com/article/rachel-dolezal-talks-caitlyn-jenner-reveals-bisexual?xid=socialflow_facebook_peoplemag

Please tell me you don't think this woman is out of her mind.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 09:28:06 PM by la dame en noir »

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #61 on: June 17, 2015, 10:22:11 PM »

Kylie you also mentioned Japan briefly, and honestly I think that in itself is a very interesting discussion, and in part it relates to what I've been saying.  Popular opinion does influence how people judge a situation. 
      I was concerned with the notion that blood/ancestry gets taken to somehow be the fount of understanding and authenticity as a member of some culture.  Which is rather big in Japanese education and politics.  I do believe public opinion and trends in what is in fashion play a role, yes.  But beyond that, I feel like you've painted this with a pretty broad brush (perhaps just overdramatic choice of words though?)...  And I didn't personally intend to argue quite what you seem to be arguing about 'Japan writ large.'  A bit of a digression I know, but I don't care to be credited with "starting" some of these particular arguments if that is what you're guessing. 

     To make the explanation quick:  I would say that there are a lot of claims that blood somehow creates a "uniquely unique" experience in Japanese politics and sometimes, these have held sway in certain institutional choices.  I wouldn't call that "Japanese culture" really --- if anything, I'd call it a factor that holds weight to different degrees in Japanese society.  It's more about what language is available to discuss certain issues and what arguments seem to work as trump cards. 

     For instance, several times a good portion of the Japanese legislature has attempted to pass resolutions apologizing for war attrocities, and then a few rightists will pipe up and huff about how it's A) a betrayal of soldiers' sacrifice (I half agree with them at least -- Seriously, insisting no figurehead can visit a military grave site?) and/or B) a forgetting of how Japan was isolated and exploited historically 1) when the Americans arrived forcing unequal treaties with the Navy and 2) once again just as Japan became a serious naval power (which IS quite significant in and of itself and many in the West especially are not aware of that backstory or tend to brush it aside)...  But the problem as I see it,  is that this sort of "circling the wagons" seems to cause enough threat and disruption that apologetic government statements rarely get passed...  And some is also tied to plain criminal intimidation rackets in certain cases, not "culture" if by that you mean what do most people really think of the issue.

      So perhaps I'm being fussy about terminology, but it feels a bit strong to me to say something like oh, 'Racism is simply endemic to Japanese culture.'  There are many ways to break a "national culture" down (could also add, an ethnic group's standing fads of who is "most" Black, White etc. down) and instead say what groups or interests are using the language of exceptionalism to claim what.  Dragging it all back on topic:  What nags me about the rhetoric of uniqueness and opaqueness, is that it becomes a way to deny any commonality between the politics of various ethnic groups/other communities and throughout history. 

     I'm talking about the rhetoric that goes basically: 'If you're not Japanese, or not Black, you just don't get it, shut up or get out, and for heaven's sake don't even imagine you can experience any portion of what we do/have/had with any overlap to our experience whatsoever.'  I'm sorry, but socially speaking that's a bit much for me.  Let's talk about particular issues or particular things that haven't been touched on or have been distorted, sure.  What's actually happening and does it even match the theories of oppression and are we all talking about the same thing.  That's useful.  But the knee-jerk 'must've been gunning for advantage because White, crossed with look what those really pernicious Whites have done already in broad strokes and well she (Dolezal) might go back,  and then couldn't possibly say anything meaningful because lacks the family history...'  Now there, it's not much better than well, Asian uniqueness demands that Japan claim NO fault whatsoever for Nanking or Singapore must isolate and whip anyone who speaks against the government.  Because difference!  Because you guys already did something bad to us and now you don't get to talk even in good faith, none of you.  That's just a mean silencing reach for a trump card.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 10:33:11 PM by kylie »

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #62 on: June 17, 2015, 11:18:53 PM »
What is "black"?
Someone asked.

Black is a very vague term that has been used to describe people of Sub Saharan descent and share facial features that are typically associated with them. In America, being "black" is about sharing the same ancestral history, traditions, and culture that has come with being separated from our ethnic roots and re-creating what are ancestors knew and were forced to conform to. You can't just wake up one day and say that you're black.Being a black American is an experience and doesn't even necessarily apply to people in Latin America who share the same ancestral background. However, its very easy for us to identity for say (examples) a black person from Brazil, Panama, Cuba, etc. Because our ancestors were on the same boats, stripped of same cultural similarities and forced to learn a new language and culture and build from that.
     That's one, I think quite popular definition --- and I suppose many people would say something similar for White and others, about having to point to some family history if anyone were to challenge it.  And then, quite a few people tacitly still also adhere to the "one drop rule" where in their thinking, any touch of African or Asian blood (and more commonly, appearing any part African/Asian to others) might make people "less" or even "not really White" too...  And by your definition above could argue that anyone who didn't have family on the slave boats, is not really Black.  And a still all-too-large portion of the White community might suspect anyone who either reveals or "looks like" their family was somehow not really White either.  And if those people seriously endeavored to be and understand [insert target community] and wanted money to go to college, whoever could they legally turn to?  Do they have a nice community that is designed for where "their" people were over a hundred years ago?  Or are they just undocumented/other in terms of race, if these are to be the sort of definitions we employ?  For that matter...  Do US government and private foundation definitions of Black really often demand that college applicants trace history all the way back to slavery?  That would surprise me if so, but it's an honest question. 

     It gets more complicated when in most of the country, the states insist that everyone must pick one or two race categories, but I believe in Hawaii they are allowed to pick even more.  Who is right?  Do people become "less Filipino" because they move from Hawaii to the East Coast and well, they were 2/3 White and only 1/3 Filipino?  What might we do if family history is to be the deciding factor in who "belongs" in what group?  Ask whether they had family among the less educated generation of Filipinos brought in as cheap labor by the state in the 60's-70's?

     None of which makes Dolezal able to satisfy either your definition or, I suspect, the government's when it comes to checking a box and receiving a scholarship.  Although it's possible that she could honestly identify as something that doesn't have a neat box, but many people would call it closer to Black -- at least in terms of practices and appearance.  What if it's like, changing your citizenship?  The US nukes oh, say, Sudan after a terrorist attack and some people decide to discard their American citizenship in outrage...  But what if no country accepts them as fulfilling their terms?  What if they want to go to I dunno, Liberia and the Liberian government were to say, "Sorry your family wasn't one of these bloodlines, you can't be one of us even if you gave up being American and did your damnedest to look like you might belong here."  Now what?  Are these people American? Are they Liberian?  Are they even African?  If everyone says no, not good enough, what should they do??  Call themselves the Exiles?   Live on a raft at sea, just to be "honest" according to the terms of all these places that never planned for them?

      I suppose you might think referring to the "one drop rule" which has otherwise been clearly used in racist projects is distorting what you are trying to say for your own part.  But I do think all this is relevant and not intending to be nasty.  The point is that race is also a social construct when we get down to saying who is in, and who is out.  I gather that by your own choice of definitions many Africans in the US could not be accepted as Black among Blacks, so now in order to capture a range of people many Whites imagine are all simply "Black" we would have to say "Blacks and" what, are they African-Americans if they have citizenship or are they just "Africans" in that system where Blacks must be descended from slavery?   

Quote
It offends me that someone would just say they're black to find the very few benefits that I receive for being a black person in America (which isn't a lot). Its fine to appreciate a different culture, integrate, learn, and accept, but its not beneficial to them.
      I might follow better if you specified what sort of benefits you mean and again, for whom exactly.  Once you say it's not beneficial to them, are you referring to Dolezal or are you referring to people you feel are legitimately Black?  It seems to me that if the question were what Dolezal gets out of doing something, then that is up to her to explain.  I don't know how honest she is or not really.  But it wouldn't be the first time that different people attached different personal value to employing the same or somehow comparable, current community practices (even while many of those practices get marginalized in the broader society).

Quote
It's taken a lot for black American's to find a culture, a voice, and a meaning. Its not something you can just feel, its something that is an experience and birth. There are a lot of hardships with being black and I'm pretty sure no one wants to just have those issues for no reason, its insane.
      Well I've spent a lot of time among people that enjoy testing their own limits -- though it's usually their sexual partner rather than the government or society at large driving them to do (at least some of them) very public, intense, painful things.  So I wouldn't presume to say how far people might choose to go.  And the fact is that if you look Black to the wider society, then you probably will encounter at least a share of those issues?  No?  Even if many Blacks think Dolezal shouldn't pass, I think quite a few Whites and maybe some others would read her as Black, and that ques the going prejudice and discrimination.

Quote
As I've said previously, its always trended for a white person to nap their hair and wear it how we would, but never get the same ridicule like we do for having the hair we were born with and having to wear it certain ways so it won't fall out.
   
A lot of black people get fired or asked to change their hair to a more professional appearance because apparently keeping it braided, dreaded, or natural isn't professional and seen dirty. It's okay for a white person to tan to darken their skin, but dark skin on someone who can't help it is considered ugly.
     I get this last part, I think...  But it also seems to me, that part of the problem within the Black community becomes that people see each other differently depending on skin tone too.  No?  How do people see Blacks who are lighter toned?  Is the upset all because "No White should be able to look this way and call herself Black," or is part of it because some Blacks are more marketable than others and that itself causes friction?  I can see how people might imagine Dolezal just wanted to look profitably "exotic" by being closer to just the currently "ideal" mixed/exotic shade, but I also tend to think with her looks she would have received some jealousy and rejection even if her family were Black back to 15th century [insert one's favorite slave port in Africa here].  Or is there a claim that really no Black people thought she really passed?  I saw the one post that she didn't for him, but I'm doubting that was true for everyone.  And it's plenty common that after the fact (and better, "after the betrayal") more people are suddenly out shouting on the web about how "obvious" they "always" knew things were.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 11:34:54 PM by kylie »

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2015, 11:51:32 PM »
@Kylie: I'm honestly not sure what to say to you because I don't think you're actually reading to understand. I think you're reading to comment and that's where I become very frustrated. I was very clear in my post what i means to be black in America as a descendent of African slaves. I'm also not referring the one-drop rule that the white government made up, not the blacks because they were not in power and held very little voice back then. So, I'll just leave this one alone for the time being because I'm beginning to think that people that aren't black would much rather tell you how society is from their perspective, rather than actually try to understand where we come from as culture and people.

Another problem I'm having is you bringing up issues within my community as far as light and dark skin goes. This is deeply rooted in slavery where white men would rape african women and thus mixed children were born, the lighter meant that they would stay in the house and sometimes given special privileges(even owning slaves) because they were thought to be better because of their white ancestry. HOWEVER once black people were given freedom, it became a very dangerous game. The one-drop rule was created to separate pure blooded white Americans from those that had their unfortunate ancestry. People would be murdered because of this if it were ever found out. ( you can even watch Queen, a movie created by the man that wrote and helped make the series Roots).

As time went on lighter skinned people were favored. Eventually black people that were lighter with straighter hair became full of themselves and considered themselves better than their darker skinned counter parts(this isn't relevant to all black people). In European domination(we are not talking about Asian or Indian cultures with hierarchy) paler skin, straight hair, etc is considered more attractive. So the epidemic is that people of color (in Latin America, America, and Africa) is to try and get that look. That means having children with white men or women(not out of love), bleaching the skin and wearing fake hair or destroying the natural texture.

This light skin vs dark skin was used to put black people against eachother, making it easier for them to control them. But it is still deeply rooted in our culture and a sad part of our history that we're trying to get passed.

But again, this argument is suggesting that black people really don't have a right to be upset lol.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 12:11:07 AM by la dame en noir »

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #64 on: June 18, 2015, 08:26:44 AM »
@Kylie: I'm honestly not sure what to say to you because I don't think you're actually reading to understand. I think you're reading to comment and that's where I become very frustrated. I was very clear in my post what i means to be black in America as a descendent of African slaves.
     I don't think I actually missed so much of that.  Although I was trying to consider what the implications of accepting any particular definition as sacrosanct could be for anyone else who might "apply" to the label as it were.  People in search of a sheltering category, any label even in situations where it seems like most of the standing communities might reject them.  Which is what still very often happens to trans/queer and I at least wonder if it has happened in some measure to Dolezal. 

      Now, looking at it again, I do think I reached a point where I wasn't sure you were really dealing with that at all and I started to skim more.  And at that juncture, I missed the portion where you put forward a view on Black Africans.  I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced that it makes sense in the broader society to have so many readily confused notions of "Black" jumping around.  (In other words, does it not matter if Whites are generally confused about which "Blacks" many of your Blacks consider really (slave-descended) Black?)  I gather you think Black Africans have enough status, wealth, what have you but I wonder if their experience would generally agree that it doesn't matter if say, most Whites would label them "Black" and consider them more or less similar to descendants of slaves.  Granted I don't know enough about the numbers of each group -- I only lived in the urban South for a few years and most of the Blacks I spent time with in university didn't often raise arguments with me that explained the specifics or population percentages of African Blacks (you might even say I'm assuming you'd consider them, these other students Black given your definition; see now I just don't know but I imagine they might also be a little shocked if I were to ask, no?) ...
     
      I brought up the skin tone example not to assign blame (well, not to any side more than the rest), but to say it's still here and real and it's one more way that various communities -- Black, White and I believe still others, actually do draw boundaries in various ways among and between themselves (not always consistently in either case).  It's live and real too, as are ideas that any sort of difference makes people illegitimate and Other, which is the heart of the "one-drop" notion.  Where it started isn't my concern here.  My concern is, how often do people truly have an experience or identity which is erased by the demands of community and boundary setting -- and especially, how often do they find no community that recognizes or builds a place for what they truly aspire to or experience?

      I can understand that you have a particular definition of Black which serves useful protective and insulating ends...  Yet at the same time, I still feel that not only that, but many of the various boundaries drawn by various groups (and even across many with conflicting politcal views) about race in the US, are also likely to leave some people with no place to go.  Or perhaps some places to go are so small and painted so unimportant that I wonder who should want to go there.  And I'm not sure a nod to "privilege" is enough to make that okay.  There can be real suffering there, too. 

      Yes, I understand that people are upset -- but also, I worry that the upset tends to get channeled a bit heavily at times into even more insistence on rigid definitions and arbitrary boundaries.  More of these using more terms, and more and more people find they have no home -- especially if they attempt to take up practices seen as 'the purview' of one or the other community, or if they could be read as belonging to more than one community but anyone can find some detail to question how "full" their membership should be.  So I'm not sure I'd be easily convinced that a generalized fear of oppression or return to historical racism, absent an agreement about what consitutes a real evidenced threat to community perhaps (and is that the rub?), really makes that worth it in the case of this definition of Black you hold. 

     And that isn't the only racial definition I would say that about.  It's not your particular community boundary that worries me as such.  It's more the sum/product of them all (White included! Gender included!  And multiplied with each other, on and on.)-- for how very rigid and particular so many of them are.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 08:33:16 AM by kylie »

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #65 on: June 18, 2015, 09:07:42 AM »
Alright. I'm only going to say this once. Black africans do not call themselves "black" the whole black thing was something white people came up with in the first place. Africans know themselves based on their tribe and nationality. HOWEVER there is a global black awareness for anyone who is from Africa and the Americas to find commonality, because in reality a lot of Africans do not black people from America and blame us for our history and culture and often times think we have forgotten our roots. So there is a different identity and I honestly don't know why people like you have such a problem with black American's identifying how they want and how our history and culture means so much to us. It's actually incredibly hurtful.

If you don't understand, I don't have to sit here and try to make you understand where we're coming from. You would probably understand more if you actually looked through our history in depth and then tried to understand black history aside from the watered down American history version. Seriously, I don't know what you want and I don't think you're listening.

Black American's did not come up with black, white, etc...White American's did. They called my ancestors Negroes because they wanted to make them feel as alienated as possible. The only reason African-American is around was because black Americans were sick of being called Colored and wanted a connection to their ancestral homeland. This was part of the movement to find pride in their skin, hair, heritage, culture, and history that we call "black pride" and people think thats racist because they don't even know what it means. When you're punched down so much in your own goddamn country and have so much hate for the own skin you live in because another group of people are afraid of you or think lowly of you, pride needs to happen. There is Irish Pride, Hispanic Pride, Asian Pride, etc and no one raises an eyebrow. There is a massive difference between Black Pride and White power(because we are talking about America here)

If someone says "German Pride" I do not think racist, I think they're proud of their culture and where they come from. One other thing people should realize is Nationality vs Ethnicity. Your ethnic ties could be Chinese, but you were born in Scotland, you wouldn't really be considered Chinese-Scots because you were not born in China, but if you took a DNA test, your ties would be in China. So I think you think that black people don't want to be considered American and what is black and this and that and I've explained it the best that I can and you don't get it.

I've met Egyptian people that say "they want us to mark white, but we're not white - I consider myself a black African" and I do not find offensive or invading. White scientists have literally said anything above the equator is white and that's just fucking stupid because Africans, by no means, are white.

Thats for a different topic, I went on a random tangent and I just want to be done with this. Sorry you don't get it.

Offline kylie

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #66 on: June 18, 2015, 01:53:46 PM »
Alright. I'm only going to say this once. Black africans do not call themselves "black" the whole black thing was something white people came up with in the first place. Africans know themselves based on their tribe and nationality. HOWEVER there is a global black awareness for anyone who is from Africa and the Americas to find commonality, because in reality a lot of Africans do not black people from America and blame us for our history and culture and often times think we have forgotten our roots. So there is a different identity and I honestly don't know why people like you have such a problem with black American's identifying how they want and how our history and culture means so much to us. It's actually incredibly hurtful.
     I'm simply wondering what effects all these identity boundaries, not just yours, have on people who try to move around and seek out new places in the society.  It's like having a castle -- some things are good defenses from real threats, some things are nice symbolic markers to keep those inside feeling together and unique (irrespective of what ways they all are and aren't) and some things keep the excluded rabble out and presumably the rabble suffer from this, too.  So it's more to do with the trans comparison if you want some single thing to point out where this question came from lately...  But I'm just wondering if Dolezal could have a serious identity somewhere, however inconstant if you like, that just is rejected by everyone.  (You know, like the army food rations, Meals Rejected by Everyone.) 

     Lots of things mean a lot to a lot of people.  And at the same time, people can feel left out or rootless when they aren't allowed to get "too close" to the things associated with those people who define boundaries in such ways.  If Africans genetically get naturally frizzy hair (not sure that's just the right word or not), and some people like Dolezal want to style their hair that way, must there be some "tripwire" in doing that, or doing (pick and choose) some of any number of other things described as Black culture as well as genetics?  Must their picking up that appearance or that practice, automatically mean that in doing so, they are going to get accused of participating in the whole antiquated style of "Blackface"?  That seems awfully reactionary to me, for lack of a better word. Granted, publishers would also do some awful things with the notion of copyright, if they could get away with it... 

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If you don't understand, I don't have to sit here and try to make you understand where we're coming from.
     You don't have to do much of anything, but you seem to feel a duty to have some last word on this that is all about how wrong Dolezal "must" be and how she must be insane to what?  To claim her own identity if it has anything to do with delusions of Blackness?  Or is the main complaint that she was able to gain some money off it?  I admit that's more problematic, but before I throw out everyone who never told someone everything that might have swayed an interview and everyone who ever found themselves faced with a row of checkboxes that honestly didn't include them...  I'd like to question a little what exactly happened with her. 

     I may get laughed at cause I have probably read more indirect claims about the case here than I have read news article type about whatever she did so far....  But so far here in particular: I've heard a lot of 'she crossed a line' sort of arguments that don't seem too interested about how her internal experience might have actually worked.  The strongest thing you seem to have on her recently is resorting to "Oh she must be plain insane."   And I'm not sure she's been so terrible, or better yet really all so illogical, as to warrant that sort of dismissal yet.  Of course if what you mainly care about is to double check every Black American for direct ties to slavery and party line that no one else gets too close to "speaking for" that experience and then also, to keep race completely separate from social perceptions of sexuality (like, how could she switch to talking about bi, you seem to be asking though you don't go and analyze it much)...  Those things are not really talking about Dolezal very much anyway, are they?  You've got her crossing your "red lines" and it seems to me you're not really too concerned about why or how she got there, except it must be dangerous because oh "privilege" makes any such thing so.  No?

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You would probably understand more if you actually looked through our history in depth and then tried to understand black history aside from the watered down American history version. Seriously, I don't know what you want and I don't think you're listening.
     Possibly.  I wonder though:  Perhaps, you might understand more of what I'm picking at if you were willing to talk less about slavery and more about people on the fringes of the Black community.  Who is the least "in" and how did the community decide to put them there?  What happens to a person who can't trace their ancestry that far back?  Is someone who knows where some ancestors were traded off to, treated in any way different from those whose families stayed together in close communities over the years, or how about compared to those who have lost track of where some relatives ended up?  Basically I am wondering:  Is this really such an ideal community where everyone sits squarely equal happily in the middle?  Perhaps I am wrong, but I doubt that is likely.  If you have a range of who is more and less authentic and accepted like most communities (e.g. Native American communities like to trace their place on the land and ancestors way back too -- but some are still "more Native" than others when you look inside at how some talk)...  Then, how much more does it take to wonder if some outsider might be approaching some edge of that fuzzy border too?

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Black American's did not come up with black, white, etc...White American's did. They called my ancestors Negroes because they wanted to make them feel as alienated as possible. The only reason African-American is around was because black Americans were sick of being called Colored and wanted a connection to their ancestral homeland. This was part of the movement to find pride in their skin, hair, heritage, culture, and history that we call "black pride" and people think thats racist because they don't even know what it means. When you're punched down so much in your own goddamn country and have so much hate for the own skin you live in because another group of people are afraid of you or think lowly of you, pride needs to happen. There is Irish Pride, Hispanic Pride, Asian Pride, etc and no one raises an eyebrow.

     No one?  Somehow, I think there are some who don't think certain other minorities in the US should be all too prideful, either.  Sure Trump is a rather extreme voice by himself, but I do believe he's just one example of many (thankfully often many smaller and more restrained/even less popular) outbursts (but then there is Rush Limbaugh,, to begin the list again...anyway) against other minorities.  And personally, as far as varieties of shall we say "Caucasian" pride such as the various flavors of Euro cultural pride, I think it's fairly viable to ask what many of them exclude from their neat festival imagery and whitewashed histories for the masses, too. 

     Maybe what's confusing you here is I'm not simply picking at the effects of the definition of Black on Dolezal.  I'm picking at the rigidity of ethnic definitions on everyone.  I'm not saying we can have a society that doesn't have race anytime soon.  I'm saying the measures and shorthand of race we have, can also somehow become problematic.  Perhaps they become especially problematic when people actually get involved, however cleanly or messily, across community boundaries?  Suddenly someone feels the need to stand up and draw up lists of just what outsiders "should" and "shouldn't" do and be, but maybe those lists aren't practical to everyone's experience or politics or analysis.  And what if there is some messiness there, where the existing categories don't always suit the society of today or tomorrow.   

       I'm not saying atrocious abuse of peoples, historically and even now in some ways, isn't atrocious.  I'm wondering about ways that the present politics and divisions we have can also leave people floundering and get people in trouble when they try to behave "outside their ethnic box" or "across ethnic lines" as it were in various ways.  If we can't even ask about that without it being considered an attack and affront to the Black community and somehow more terrible to them than to everyone else it's implicating, then fine don't bother with me.  I am just inclined to think that doing so, is more of a knee-jerk defensive dismissal (yes, people are upset, but still) and less a serious consideration of why exactly Dolezal might have done things -- and maybe why exactly various people of various standpoints (including more than one uniform Black response, I dare suspect?) might be upset about rather different parts of it.

    Finally, you raise some China v. Scotland stuff...  I guess in some sort of response to the mention of Japanese rhetoric?? But I'm still trying to make sense of that because I'm not sure it's really comparable to what I was seeing from studies of Japan/a bit of experience there myself...  And I really don't see how it gives you inspiration for saying the next part:
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So I think you think that black people don't want to be considered American and what is black and this and that and I've explained it the best that I can and you don't get it.
     I never said anything of the sort.  When I talked about Asia, it was about examples of demanding that others not involve themselves in a community's experience/conversation/analysis of a situation, even when one might logically have some of those things in one's life already by virtue of personal background or efforts to adopt practices.  I'm kinda doubtful if you are actually familiar with the way Japanese leaders have taken to speaking of nationality as being linked to blood.  (Specifically, I am doubtful because at least in Japan, they actually do not limit how they claim to know a person's "blood," to doing DNA tests.  Far from it.)  Now perhaps I'm just clueless about Scotland, but the contrast you're attempting (is this supposed to lead toward, nationality must be spoken of as something completely different from ethnicity??) doesn't sway me yet.  Though I find the whole thing abrupt there, and I'm not at all sure it's even dealing with the same concerns I had.

     For myself: I was questioning whether it makes sense -- better, what are the effects really, when today people still insist that blood gives someone a "last word" on what is right and wrong in a political conversation.  Experience and legacy is pretty important and sources are important for evidence, but so is reason and perspective and so is -- well, the one I feel like you're effectively throwing away in brushing me off here --a comparative eye for things that pop up in many societies and many if not all different ethnic situations.  Places where the names and faces change, but well groups still slam people around, mark them as outsiders and refuse to let them in often quite regardless of those people's intent and personal orientation to questions of what race is for and what it has done to them in life, being whatever it is to others in that neck of the woods.

      However: I never said Black people don't want to be American and I do not at all intend to say that.  Heavens no.  Sounds extremely rare and unlikely, if you were to ask me to guess the frequency.  Now please don't try to box me in claiming that if I said something else above, that must be what I really want to say/mean.  If you honestly believe something I said must lead to that leap somehow, then perhaps you could explain how.  Cause this is all news to me and I believe those are your words, not mine. 
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 02:02:55 PM by kylie »

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #67 on: June 18, 2015, 02:09:17 PM »
The thing that still concerns me is the apparent falsification of 'hate crimes'.  It is this that convinces me that Rachel Dolezal may have a tendency to embrace and perpetuate falsehoods.  This makes her inherently unbelievable and unreliable.  If she is willing to put a hate-filled diatribe into her own P.O. Box and report it to the police - which ends up wasting time and resources that could be used to investigate actual hate crimes where people (including those people that she claims to represent and care deeply for) are in actual danger - then what else is she willing to lie about?

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #68 on: June 18, 2015, 02:38:30 PM »
I am Swedish with a slight amount of Cherokee and a wee bit of Welsh (my ancestry) - born in Germany, raised in the US. According to la dameís analogy, I should be German since I was born there. Iíve never said I was German despite my birth there.

So, how do I identify? American. It is where I live, it is the culture I have been raised with. It is what I know.

What irritates me is this desire to separate. German pride. Irish pride. African pride. Asian pride. Do you live in the US? Youíre American. Deal with it. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage but you are no better, no worse than any other American just because your family ancestry is from somewhere else.

Do I care that this chic is claiming to be black? Not really. She could claim to be a purple people eater from Saturn if she wanted. Who am I to tell her she is not a purple people eater from Saturn? Not. My. Business.

Personally, now that she has stepped down from the position she held, Iíd rather see her out of the news. Let the law deal with the legal aspect, but let it drop in the media. She is not important in the grand scheme of things and I feel like this is yet another attempt by the media to stir the racial pot.

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #69 on: June 18, 2015, 03:05:43 PM »
I wish I could contribute to this more than just the simple stuff. But heres my two cents. Race is not something you can just put on like a suit. Your offspring will carry on the genes of your race. Its a permanent thing, Miss Donezal is nothing more than a con artist who got a spray on tan to scam an organization and rake in the cash/ delude herself about her importance.

She's nothing more than an idiot, a fraud and a liar. (3 things I absolutely cannot stand) Just because you look like someone doesn't mean you fully understand them.

I lived in Puerto Rico till I was 11 but that doesn't mean I completely know what the people there go through and the hardship a lot of them face through poverty.  I can sympathize with them and have a basic knowledge of them that makes me more in line to be part of a group but I will never fully understand 110% know them as i know myself.

(I really wish I was as skilled at making speeches and presenting my point as you all, I feel like a child trying to talk in a room of adults with doctorates.  :-( )
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 03:12:46 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Cycle

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #70 on: June 18, 2015, 03:13:28 PM »
(I really wish I was as skilled at making speeches and presenting my point as you all, I feel like a child trying to talk in a room of adults with doctorates.  :-( )

I don't know what you are talking about, LB.  I've read your posts.  Here and elsewhere.  You are as eloquent as any.  More importantly, what you say is well reasoned. 

It's not how you say things, but what you say that really matters.


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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #71 on: June 18, 2015, 03:23:52 PM »
Because i'm one of two black people that responded and all i'm getting are people telling me how i should feel..react..and see this situation...i'm going to cease any comments directed to me because they're all rather insensitive and void of real understanding and just questioning. I have a right to be upset. Rachel used her white identity when she sued because it was convenient. She likes to play around and it's disgusting. So if anyone wants to continue to tell me how black americans should act..react...and feel. Please think twice.


@Kylie: You once again have shown me you're not listening, but making assumptions. Its funny that the two black people that came to talk about something very sensitive, are the ones getting questioned and poked at. So apparently we're doing something right.

The black community is very welcoming of anyone that wants to learn, accept, appreciate, and help our issues. HOWEVER, as I have stated pages before, she is a liar who most likely has very many mental issues and underlying issues that led her this direction. If someone comes up to me and says "I'm black" and blah blah and they don't look like what society thinks someone black should look like, I wouldn't say "are you sure?" "you dont look like it" because we live in America and I honestly expect most people to tell me that they're mixed in some way. What I find annoying is that through only having lived 23 years on this god forsaken earth, I have met plenty of white men and women who will say shit like "I have a black grandfather, so I can say this, wear my hair like this, do this, so shut up." because they want an excuse for being ignorant and prejudice. So don't think I'm just pulling this shit out of my ass.

I also can not speak for Native Americans, because despite my actual evidence of my native bloodline, it is not a bloodline I identify as and quite frankly - many of them aren't very welcoming of black people and are quite racist towards us.

If you have FB, you can read what Montel had to say about this situation if you would like another black perspective.

I just find this entire conversation incredibly disrespectful, hurtful, and no one is learning anything.




I apologize to anyone who might be put off by me now, but this is incredibly close to home for me and I hate having to explain history and present as to why things are they way they are and why my people get up in arms when anything has to do with our community. Because whenever we try to discuss this civilly, no one really cares to understand, they just want to tell you how you should handle it, react to it and most annoyingly - tell you to get over it.

Its rude.

Sorry.

So while she fabricated these so called hate-crimes against her as a "black woman". Shit like this is still real and happening. This has been the method of racist people against black people for centuries...killing black people while they're at church.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 04:11:56 PM by la dame en noir »

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Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #72 on: June 18, 2015, 03:31:06 PM »
Rachel used her white identity when she sued because it was convenient.

Nail on the head right there. This discredits anything Donezal has to say in defense of her actions. It proves shes nothing more than a hypocrite! She doesn't believe in anything other than furthering her own goals. She only got her race change because she thought she could get away with it and rake in that money. All it ever was was about furthering her own position.



I don't know what you are talking about, LB.  I've read your posts.  Here and elsewhere.  You are as eloquent as any.  More importantly, what you say is well reasoned. 

It's not how you say things, but what you say that really matters.



Thank you.   :-)

Offline Cycle

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #73 on: June 18, 2015, 03:38:18 PM »
For what it is worth, la dame en noir, I think you have every right to be angry at Dolezal and this situation.

To me, what is happening is pretty clear.  Dolezal lied over most of her life to gain advantages (financial assistance, higher education admission, jobs, a semi-political position).  Her doing so is not just morally wrong (i.e., lying is morally wrong) but it also deprived others of those advantages. 

I really see the whole "I identify as ***" argument as a defense mechanism that she employed to deflect attention away from her lying.  Unfortunately, it sort of worked.


Offline IntensePlayer

Re: The Rachel Dolezal Controversy
« Reply #74 on: June 18, 2015, 03:49:28 PM »
Kylie, I think I went a little too off topic with the japan thing.  It is a very complicated issue that is for sure and I have some strong views on it, however that really is a whole different discussion.  Everything you've said on the actually subject though I still agree with.

Juggtacular, the first thing you mentioned in your post is that she is just plain wrong, and you went on to explain that is because she lied to some people, and is white, and came from a family that had money.  You went on to list things that in your mind makes her a bad person.  I'm still not judging her character, there are some things she had done that has come to light that I think she is way off on.  However I still don't think you listed a valid reason for why she is wrong to say she identifies as black.  Just because she is white means she has to live her life a certain way?  Just because her family has money means she has no issues in her life and should just be happy because there is money in the family?

You wrote something further down that actually bothered me, and I'll explain why.

"A man who becomes a woman through surgery is still not a woman in anything beyond looks as he can't birth children or produce breast milk. A woman who transitions is not truly a man as she can't produce sperm and impregnate other females. It makes you feel better, makes you feel more natural, but it's only cosmetic. And that's just gender. When it comes to race it's a similar, yet entirely different beast."

I read that.. Then read it again, and read it a third time.  At first I wasn't sure if you were serious, but I think there really is only one way to take it.  What I'm curious about is your definition of what a man is and what a woman is, does that exclusively apply to those who transition from man to woman, and woman to man?  If you believe that what makes a man a man, and a woman a woman is the ability to reproduce... Then I think there are a lot of people who were born into their gender that don't fit your criteria.  I'll give you an example.  I'm married and my wife can't have children.  Now she was born a woman and will die a woman, but she will never be able to have children... So.. Since she can't reproduce, does that mean by your definition she'll never be a real woman?  I myself don't plan to remarry or have sex with anyone else, which pretty much means I won't have any children either.  Just because I'm not going to reproduce does that mean I'm not a 'real' man in your point of view?  What about a woman who has ovarian cancer and has to have her ovaries removed, she'll never have children.. Does that mean she'll never be a 'real' woman either?

You said later on in your post that Donezal had nooses left on her door, but then you take it back by saying that it means nothing because nooses were never used on her family.  You do know that she has black children and had black siblings growing up right?  Or do they not count as 'family' since they were adopted?  "My husband is black, my children are black, my brothers are black, all of whom I love.  The nooses must be meant for them.. But hey I'm white so I'm in the clear, nothing at all to worry about in terms of that noose at my door"  Are you implying something along those lines?  She may not have been born black, and may not even know what it feels like to be a slave (for that matter you wouldn't either), but it seems to me that she has already experienced some discrimination that black people face.  Though in my opinion that still doesn't make her any more, or any less justified in what she identifies herself as.  I really don't believe there is some external text she needs to pass in order to have the right to say 'okay I identify as black'  Just like I don't believe a trans person needs to fit your criteria of what a man is, or what a woman is, before they are allowed to define themselves. 

la dame en noir, you've also made a lot of points though Kylie has addressed most of them, that and I don't want you to feel ganged up on so I'll try to make separate points.  In one of your earlier points you dismissively said "Now apparently she's bisexual" as if even that contributes to her harming the black community.  So what if shes also bi?  Is bisexuality a problem with the black community as well now?

Ultimately here is what I don't understand.  In you posts you've made it clear that you think this woman is just crazy.  How can one 'crazy' woman have such a HUGE impact on the black community and stir so much outrage?  Does the black community not have the capacity to say "Okay... This woman is clearly out of her mind, now lets get back to the things that are actually affecting our community instead of giving this crazy lady more attention"  Even though I don't agree with it, to an extent I could see why this was an issue when she was part of the NAACP, since then however she has stepped down.  She has.. No influence anymore.  It wasn't until after she resigned that she made the statement 'I identify as black'.  There really is NO reason for her to do so.  You've talked about all the disadvantages, trials and tribulations that black people go through, so there is no real advantage in her saying she identifies as black especially since now she doesn't even hold any position of 'power' within the black community.  Yet...  She is still being talked about, as if she is this big stigma to the black community.

Lastly I just wanted to say, you're perfectly entitled to feel the way you feel about this situation.  No one is saying you can't, however I can just as freely comment on it, as well as comment on my views about the black community.  Just because this issue doesn't affect me doesn't mean I don't have any right to share my opinion.

Lustful Bride, your point would make sense if Donezel decided to go back to being white after she stepped down from the NAACP.  She is no longer in any position of power.  Because of the ridicule she faced she already resigned.  There is no benefit in her STILL claiming to be black.  Yet that is exactly what she is doing.  In claiming to be black the only thing she opens herself up to is further ridicule, so no.  I don't believe the only reason shes doing it is for money.

Cycle, its already been established that she had a family with money..  If all she wanted to do was gain an 'advantage' she could have done so in NUMEROUS ways as a white person.  If you want go with the argument of 'she stole the scholarship from a deserving black person' then that argument would mean that she affected ONE person.

If you're going to use that argument I can very well go back to Bruce Jenner.  He has claimed that for a long time he identified as a woman.  Yet when he was younger he was in the Olympics AS a man.  Does that mean that he stole a position from an ACTUAL male who was more deserving?  Instead Caitlyn 'lied' about who she is and took advantage of the situation? Hell, maybe we should petition for him to give back his medal.  He claims to be a woman now, but can't still take credit for something he did while pretending to be a man right?  (You may think I'm joking but there are actually people out there who are petitioning to have Jenner's medal revoked. http://www.outsports.com/2015/6/3/8725393/caitlyn-jenner-transgender-petition-olympic-gold-medals )

I still see this as an issue of discrimination, people apply one set of standards to Bruce Jenner, yet when Donezal is dealing with some similar issues, suddenly she is subjected to a whole new set or rules that would be considered bigoted if applied to Jenner.