I Identify as BLACK: Black or White in America?
When I was going to school there were four “race” boxes to check: Black, White, Hispanic and Asian. Primarily the white box was checked, but I hesitantly checked black. Why with hesitation you ask? Because I am bi-racial and lived with my mother and grandmother (who where both primarily German decent) but every morning when I looked in the mirror I saw brown skin and curly hair. It took a long time to realize that I am who I am, and that just so happens to be white and black. (I say Black because I AM NOT African American, I don’t know what country my black
“Rachel Dolezal has gone from a Spokane, Washington, activist to the focus of a highly charged national debate in recent days, after reports surfaced that she was born white yet has claimed she is black” (Cnn.com)
“I identify as black” (nytimes.com)
If you are not black, than you can never experience being any thing other than black. So how can a white, blonde haired, rose cheeked faced women identify with being black? So I ask how can a professor Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University not understand the simply question of if she is “African American” when asked by CNN reporter. What does identifying with being black even mean? Does it mean living up to every stereotype, or wearing braids, or being educated by an HBCU?
As soon as her story came to light, I didn’t realize how offensive it was to “pretend to be” something that you're simply not. She was the chapter head of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in Spokane Washington. It is being reported that the work she has done has made a very positive impact in the black community. However, Spokane Washington has an African American demographic of merely 2.3%. If you choose to stand and fight for a cause, then do it. And do it whole heartedly. But to think that you will be able to go further in your fight / career based on the color of your skin doesn’t say much for the self-confidence you have in your ability to make a difference. In fact, it seems ignorant and deceptive.
When it comes to religion and even gender, you can be whatever you want. But race? How is that possible? She used the word “transracial” I’m sure to piggy back off the growing exposure and tolerance of the transgender community. But here is the reality about race and skin color… You can’t change it. If you could don’t you think all of African Americans (true peoples of Africa brought to the USA for the slave trade) simply “choose” to be white? You are what you are. Black people have been trying to bleach there skin for years, and Caucasian’s have been basking in the sun to obtain that golden glow. But when they wake up in the morning, they know they are still either white or black. (Or in my case mixed because I love laying out) I fully understand the need to find a way to make yourself feel comfortable, and if that means altering skin color then so be it. It’s when you start making claims that you are not what you really are, even going as far as disowning your own biological parents, it becomes controversial . That means you are pretending, faking, putting on ashow. Per her “Today Show” interview she said she did not always “identify” as being black. This is apparent after winning a full ride scholarship to Howard University, a HBCU, and then sued them for being discriminatory towards her for being white. So was she in fact pretending to be “black?” There is no explaining your skin color away, as much as some people may want to.
As long as people have different skin colors there will always be a discussion on race. I am just glad that we live in the great country, and it can even discussed and discussed peacefully.
Let me know that you think… I would love to hear your thoughts…
By: Megan Nikole