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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Postscript on Rachel Dolezal

First off I want to applaud Matt Lauer for the integrity he showed in his interview with Rachel Dolezal. I watched it not too long after writing the previous post on the firestorm over her identification as a black woman. I don't have much more to say. People will think whatever they want. The truth is, it doesn't matter what Rachel says, or doesn't say, to explain herself. In my experience, trying to defend oneself when people have already made up their minds about you and nailed you to a cross is akin to jumping into quicksand. If I could talk to Rachel, I'd tell her not to do anymore interviews, to let it all die down. America will quickly move on to its next petty obsession, while it complacently ignores the real horrors in the world.

A couple of things struck me in the interview with Lauer. I had understood that Rachel has four adopted black brothers and two black sons. In reality, one of her sons is one of her adopted brothers, a high school student of whom she has legal custody. Coupled with what she said about her racial identification being a matter of "survival", I even more strongly suspect that there is a family drama behind all this. Something is up with these biological parents.

In another interview, Rachel maintained that her birth certificate was not drawn up until more than a month after she was born and that she wasn't born in a hospital. She suggested that it's possible that the people who raised her are not her biological parents. Personally, I think she resembles her mother. Regardless, she claims unequivocally that she is not white. Whether it's true or not, whether we understand it or not, this is what she believes. Her blackness is something she fervently needs to believe. She said that she changed her appearance because, This is what makes me feel beautiful. I get that. Whatever lies she may have told, the truth resounded when she said those words.

I think we all have an opportunity to look more closely at ourselves here. Hypocrisy abounds. In what ways have we been deceptive in how we present ourselves to the world? We all want to be accepted, to belong, to feel beautiful. People are understandably upset. People enjoy being upset. If Rachel owes someone an apology, that's between her and that person. If she has sinned, that's between her and God. If she has broken a law, then the justice system will do what it does. It's none of my business. It's none of yours. Except for the part where we need to pray. Where we are commanded to pray. So pray.


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