All week I have been hearing about Rachel Dolezal, the president of the Spokane, Washington NAACP who said she was black but was discovered to be white. In the uproar that followed, she resigned from her position. Rachel says that she has identified as black since about the age of five. She is passionate in her efforts to improve the lives of black people in America.
As I had just done a book review on a similar theme, this was very interesting to me.
In the book “All The Way Home”, Augie – a white girl of Irish/German background, becomes best friends with Sunny, who is Japanese. Augie’s family is very dysfunctional and she spends as little time with them as possible. She considers Sunny’s family to be her own, and wishes she looked Asian. Sunny, on the other hand, experiences a lot of prejudice during World War II, and eventually has plastic surgery to make herself appear white.
Rachel Dolezal is not the first person to feel more at home with a different racial/ethnic group than she was born into. She found a community where she felt like she fit in, and found a purpose in life there. Rachel changed her hair and her skin to reflect how she felt inside. Nothing wrong with that. But when she lied about her parentage, offering a picture of a black man as her father, she crossed the line. Basically she disowned and rejected her parents because they were the “wrong” color. She also betrayed the trust of the black community by not being honest with them.
This is such a sad story to me. I really don’t care how much pigmentation is in the skin of my family members and friends. God created us with great artistic variation, but there is only one race, not three or five or more. I look forward to the day when we get rid of the labels, and just see ourselves as human beings sharing this planet.
(The picture of Rachel is one that appeared in this New York Times article)