What’s black and white and red all over? An embarrassed Rachel Dolezal. Or at least she should be.
But the former President of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, who resigned under fire after it was revealed that she was, in fact, white, isn’t blushing at all. Despite duping so many by being a racial chameleon, leaving supporters feeling betrayed, Dolezal stated that she would have done nothing differently, calling her actions ones of "survival."
Given that this is giving the Bruce/Caitlin Jenner saga a run for its money as the year’s best "you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up" story, where does one begin?
1.) When asked by the press if she was black, Dolezal replied, "That question is not as easy as it seems. There’s a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that."
Sure there are, Rachel. Yep. There are just so many complexities in answering such an extremely simplistic question. Thanks for the patronizing non-answer, but let’s cut out the psycho-babble. The answer is simple: You are white. Period. There are no subtleties here, nor should there be. If the NAACP wouldn’t have hired you because of your skin color, then shame on them. But playing coy with something so obvious serves only to make you look like a lunatic, destroying whatever credibility you have left.
2.) Had she not resigned, Dolezal should have been fired, but not because she is white. There is no reason a non-black could not perform extremely well in that capacity; as a matter of fact, according to reports, Dolezal did just that. The reason she deserved termination is simple: She lied, and in doing so, destroyed her integrity and damaged the reputation of the organization. No matter how well-intentioned she was, deliberately misleading people was unacceptable, and keeping her in that position would have set a terrible example.
3.) Dolezal’s parents stated that they are puzzled as to why she would misrepresent her race. Rachel responded by saying that she doesn’t understand why her parents "are in a rush to whitewash some of the work that I have done."
If that pun was intended, good one! But one has nothing to do with the other. The parents aren’t whitewashing the work Rachel has done, but questioning why she would lie about her racial heritage. Simply put, the end doesn’t justify the means.
4.) Following the theme of Jenner’s "transgender" soap opera, the term "transracial" has quickly become the newest politically correct buzz term, ostensibly because Dolezal said, "I identify as black." But what does that mean?
You’re white, but because you have an affinity for black culture or history, it’s now perfectly acceptable to represent yourself as black? Because if that’s the case, life just took a turn for the better! If you love Hawaii, and call yourself a native Hawaiian, then that must mean you get all the special privileges afforded to those folks. Same for Native Americans. And while you’re at it, throw in being an American Samoan, because that’ll really help get the kids into college. And of course, being formerly-white-but-now-transracial will make getting minority-only loans infinitely easier, as well as landing a job where minority-hiring quotas are in effect.
America’s entitlement mentality is out of control, but thinking you’re "entitled" to being another race, ethnicity or gender just because you feel like it takes the cake.
5.) Dolezal attended Howard University, a historically all-black college. Did she represent herself as black to gain admission? And did she do the same to obtain government loans, aid, or any type of benefits? If so, losing her job will be the least of her worries, as fraudulently representing your ethnicity for financial gain isn’t just unethical, but illegal.
6.) The NAACP is way behind the times, as the "C" stands for "colored" people — a term long since considered offensive to blacks. And while the organization should correct that, maybe it’s time to go all the way and change the name to NAAAP — the National Association for the Advancement of All People. Advocating special treatment for some — not all — smacks of discrimination, especially reverse discrimination, and has a counterproductive effect. When other races feel alienated, the racial gap widens, which has a detrimental effect on everyone, including, and sometimes especially, blacks.
To achieve racial harmony, we must start viewing ourselves as Americans, and only Americans. Not Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, or white. Just Americans, with equal opportunity for all, and special treatment for none.
But unfortunately, selective discrimination has been deemed acceptable, even trendy. Far from creating racial accord, as its advocates naively believe, it has created a flashpoint in the powder keg of America’s race relations.
There are no white caucuses in our legislatures or NAAWPs, nor should there be. By their nature, they would be divisive and exclusionary. Yet they are just as divisive, and just as exclusionary, when used by other ethnicities. Once a race — any race — feels that it is not afforded equal rights, tensions flare, often uncontrollably.
Rather than learning our lesson, we are marching in the opposite direction, with too many — on all sides — playing the race card at the drop of a hat, often for ulterior motives.
The solution is for strong leaders of all races to unite and demand colorblindness in America, from policing to entertainment, and from education to the workplace. Tragically, though, too many succumb to cowardice, eschewing tough stands in favor of feel-good rhetoric, which placates the masses but solves nothing.
As a result, we are reverting to when people were judged by skin color. Resurrecting such barriers, however well-intentioned, has no place in an America striving to right the wrongs of its past.
Trumpeting color is demeaning to the very people it is designed to help. Instead of uniting, it divides. Instead of equality, it promotes the notion of special privilege based on color. Instead of building upon the American spirit of competiveness and achievement — may the best person win — it robs all people of dignity and respect.
Sadly, we are coming full circle: separate and unequal; separate but equal; equal; and now separate again. That’s not why so many — both black and white — sacrificed so much in the fight for civil rights.
Let’s whitewash the controversy about Rachel’s Dolezal’s race and instead focus on building a nation where people are not judged by their skin, but, as a famous man once said, by the content of their character.
No principle could be more … black and white.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at [email protected].