By: Ashley F
Imagine a world of reinventing yourself. A world where you have the ability to change everything you dislike about yourself, whether it be hair color, texture, skin color or simply, your job.
Rachel Dolezal, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter of missionaries managed to “reinvent” all the qualities she disliked about herself, by posing as an African-American for the past decade. Not only was she teaching a course about African studies at Eastern Washington University, but she is also the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Some may think, ‘so what if she wants to be black?’ As Rihanna said, “We [the black community] should take it as a compliment”. It may not seem like a big deal. Especially since we live in a generation of re-invented white rap artists, where some are great moguls, such as Eminem, who respect the groundwork of Dr. Dre, Tupac and Biggie. Whereas others consider themselves fit to use words that…well let’s just say should only be used by the black community. These so called “rappers” have adopted the black culture. Twisted it into a universal culture that tells people it’s okay to appropriate.
However, to others, it is seen as a slap in the face, an insult of sorts to the black race. The mere fact that Dolezal wanted to be black is not the stem of the problem, but rather the profanity to which she approached the “reinvention” of herself. Dolezal managed to live off the struggles of the African-American race, teaching others about the injustice black people have and still face, and lying about living them first-hand.
Alternatively, her re-invention can be viewed as a milestone in black history. Magazines and articles can plaster “First White Women demanding to be Black!” as a marketing technique. As a matter of fact, she could actually start a trend, whenever the black community is excelling in the movie or music industry white people can pretend to be African American, and when white people are excelling, African Americans can pretend to be white. On the other hand, this by definition would be cultural appropriation, the negative phenomenon caused by the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture.
Therefore I ask again, imagine a world of re-inventing yourself? A world where you do not have to learn something to teach it. A world where mini Rachel Dolezal’s can feed off of your struggles and achievements just because they feel a “connection” to you. Doesn’t seem so pretty does it?