The 3 Biggest Issues Around Rachel Dolezal

The 3 Biggest Issues Around Rachel Dolezal

Mixed in Canada

Rema Tavares

Like many folks across North America, as soon as the Rachel Dolezal story broke, I was baffled. Here was yet another example of cultural appropriation of Blackness, which is quite commonplace (think Iggy Azalea, for example), but this story is a bit different. Usually the stories we hear of are people who identify as white, using Black cultural consumption for financial gain or access to what Rebecca Walker calls “Black cool”. However, this is the first story in a while where the person was outright living as Black for financial and social gain. Already on day three since the story broke, there are several excellent articles out there that outline the many ways in which Rachel’s behaviour is so problematic, so I will stick to what I think are the three biggest issues…


Everything that Rachel “did for Black people” she could have done as a white woman. White people who acknowledge and leverage their privilege exist. However, it is an incredible abuse of white privilege  to assume a Black identity, let alone to gain financially and socially from that decision. At any moment, Rachel could have chosen to wash off her fake tan and permed hair and live out the rest of her life as a white woman (again). On the other hand, no Black woman has that option unless she is racially ambiguous or white passing, which is a completely different situation. In that circumstance, passing for white stems from trying to access those very privileges that Rachel has had access to her entire life – including her time as a fake Black woman…

Read the entire article here.

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