My last comment on #RachelDolezal

Rachel Dolezal’s “misappropriation” of black identity raises this question: What does it mean to be “black”? That Ms. Dolezal was able to “pass” as black, both culturally and physically should have members of society asking how substantive it is to base cultural, social, and political identity on physical appearance and word phrases. In a society where identity politics is so rampant, Ms. Dolezal’s outing should be no surprise.

For example, could she have gotten away with saying she was West Indian? Physically, yes, but she would have failed almost every other test because being West Indian goes way beyond how you get your hair “did” and using a few cultural phrases.

If black or African Americans want to maintain a bottleneck on who gets to be called “black”, then a redefinition or refinement of the membership criteria for who can claim being a part of the African Diaspora in America is in order. As long as membership is this permeable, then “blacks” in America should get used to seeing more Rachel Dolezals….

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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2 Responses to My last comment on #RachelDolezal

  1. kenski2013 says:

    What’s interesting about this case is that it appears her parents “outed” her. I saw a report saying that her parents had adopted four African American children. Why they would bother to make a big deal of her “racial identification” puzzles me. They adopt four African American children but don’t like their own “white” daughter calling herself black? They should have minded their own business.

  2. kenski2013 says:

    I think there is too much labeling, name calling, etc. with regards to race. All of that is a waste of time and effort.

    Considering that she seems to be in a position to advocate for African Americans, you would think that would be a good thing.

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