Gyasi Ross: The Native roots of the bizarre Rachel Dolezal drama

Rachel Dolezal, right, and Marilyn Jones Mosby, state attorney for Baltimore, Maryland. Photo from Spokane NAACP

Attorney and author Gyasi Ross discusses the controversy over Rachel Dolezal, who even claimed Native American heritage in addition to passing as an African American woman:
Ok, so, this white woman named Rachel Dolezal did a reverse Michael Jackson and became a black woman named Rachel Dolezal.

Thing was, she wasn’t cool with just being some newly black woman named Rachel Dolezal. She wanted to be the blackest of the black women—became president of the NAACP, told folks that she had black children, became an activist for black folks, wore her “natural” in kinky curls, and made many, many allegations that she was the victim of hate crimes because she was black. She was consistent at least—when she said that she was Native American, she said that she was also the Nativest of the Natives. She was born in a tipi and hunted with bows and arrows.

In both events, she committed completely to her character change.

Thing was, her black child wasn’t her child—that was her adopted brother. Her “natural” hair was not kinky curls—it was straight blonde. She was never, in fact, the victim of hate crimes—she made them up.

Black folks, welcome to the bizarre world that is being Native in 2015. Folks (primarily white folks) completely commit to becoming Native and swear up and down, on a million braids of sweetgrass, that they are indeed Native. Now granted, we are responsible for SOME of this—it seems that some goofy Natives believed the lie (called a “legal fiction”) created by the Supreme Court, that “Native” is not an ethnicity, that it’s only a “political status.”

That’s right—somehow, some Natives believe that since a bunch of old white dudes and one black dude on the Supreme Court said that being “Native” isn’t a race, it must be true (Morton v. Mancari).

Excuse me while I LOL.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Fake Black Folks, Fake Indians, and Allies: The Native Roots of the Rachel Dolezal Saga (Indian Country Today 6/12)

Also Today:
Rachel Dolezal postpones meeting with NAACP board in Spokane (The Spokesman-Review 6/14)
Questions about Rachel Dolezal linger as NAACP members react (The Spokesman-Review 6/15)

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