Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Some Thoughts On Rachel Dolezal

While I was in Europe, I learned from some of the international news stations about Rachel Dolezal, the director of the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter who had been passing herself off as black.  After being outed by her (white) parents, she resigned from her NAACP post.  In related news, her adoptive brother Ezra reported on her charade, and in a bit of irony, it has been revealed that she once sued Howard University for allegedly discriminating against her for being white.  (Another brother of hers has some troubles of his own.)

She might not be aware of it, but Dolezal is an example of life imitating art.  From 1981 until his death in a car accident in 2007, Pultizer Prize-winning cartoonist Doug Marlette published the comic strip Kudzu, which satirized rural Southerners, and was set in a fictional town called Bypass.  The title character was teenager Kudzu Dubose, named after the Asian vine that was introduced into the southern United States in the late 1800s, which produced unintended consequences.  One of his friends was Nasal T. Lardbottom, a short, fat, uncoordinated dork who tried to talk and act black, but failed so dismally that he was named the "whitest white boy at Bypass High".  There isn't too much on the web about Lardbottom, but he is listed here among the Kudzu characters, from a musical play based on the comic strip.  While Lardbottom's desire to take on ostensibly black traits was satirical and Dolezal's was serious, I couldn't help but notice the parallel.

UPDATE:  Here's another example of fictional fake blackness.

Dolezal's story, combined with another recent controversy, shows how ridiculous racial discourse has become.  As anyone not living under a rock knows, a few years ago, a man in Florida named George Zimmerman fatally shot a black teenager named Trayvon Martin.  After Zimmerman's Hispanic appearance became known, he was re-classified as a "white Hispanic", apparently so that his actions toward Martin could be fit into the politically correct stereotype of white racism against blacks.  (No, I'm not saying that such racism doesn't exist.  It certainly does.  But this does not mean that every adverse action by a white person toward a non-white person is motivated by racism.)  However, a look into Zimmerman's ancestry turned up an Afro-Peruvian great grandfather, thus showing him to be 1/8 black.  Thus, in another irony, George Zimmerman, vilified as an anti-black racist, is more black than Rachel Dolezal, whose black identity appears to have been entirely fake.

No comments:

Post a Comment