Rachel Exposes Big White Lie
Rachel Dolezal has exposed the big white lie. A lie bigger and more sinister than the lie she told about her ethnicity. The evidence is clear that Dolezal is of Czech and German ancestry. Equally clear, is the fact that she has denounced her European heritage to live a lie. Do not get me wrong, there is no excuse for the multiple lies Dolezal has told to pull off her ruse.
She looked black, dressed black, talked black, married black and segregated herself from white people as white people for ages have segregated themselves from black people. It can be argued, on the surface, that she segregated herself from white people for the same reason that white people segregate themselves from black people: She does not find any endearing utility for white people in her immediate life. As shocking and startling as this revelation is, it is the only plausible explanation for her actions.
In telling her own lie, Dolezal has managed to pulled the sheet off the big lie about white racial superiority. A lie that is told all across white America at the dawning of each new day.
“I don’t know what it feels like to be white,” I posited to a white female journalist over coffee this past Memorial Day.
She replied, “If you don’t know what it feels like, you don’t want to know what it feels like. It’s weird.”
I can only suppose that white people literally wake up in the morning thinking the world owes them more than it owes people of color. After all, rules and regulations are enacted from the local, state, and federal level to ensure this advantage remains each morning they awake. All white people do not engage in this process, but a majority of them elect representatives who enact legislation which determines everything from the quality of air and water in black communities to the number of polling places and the days those polling places can be open, to laws that restrict the advancement of colored people in housing, education, employment and finance. The only leading indexes where blacks out perform white Americans is in being shot by police officers and in earning a long stay in the prison industrial complex.
While a vast number of white Americans have rushed to condemn Dolezal for lying about her parentage, she has managed to expose the big lie that has been floating around the planet since Europeans first encountered black and brown people “in Asia, Africa and the Islands of the seas.”
Eons ago, whites determined that they were superior, and because they were superior, they had the right to be master over men and women of color. This is a bold-face lie. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only white people can stop white people from believing this nonsense about themselves.
Since 2008 President Obama has been encouraging white Americans to honestly engage their neighbors of color in a discussion on race. Following the riots in the streets of Baltimore this year, President Obama put it as bluntly as it could be put when he said: “We could solve this problem [race] if we wanted to solve it.”
The president, a man of mix parentage, who identifies with the culture of his black father, grew up in the household of his conservative white American grandparents. He knows first hand the racial feelings white people have about black people, even when they have a black person living closely among them.
Obama knows that although his grandparents showed him love and respect that they somehow made a distinction between him and other black people who lived across town from them. What was he to do? After all his grandparents clothed him and fed him while his mom traveled the world in search of her own Rachel Dolezal type quest.
The president knows from sleeping and eating in the same household with white people on a daily basis, that if white people would face up to the lie they tell themselves about their superiority over people of color, the racial divide would dissipate over night. Dolezal knows this salient fact too. She grew up in a home where the parents had adopted several black kids. She witnessed first hand the distinction made by her parents between her adopted brothers and other black boys in the community, and those depicted on the evening news.
I dare say, so too do the vast majority of white people. White people know the truth about their own racial feelings. But the lie feels good. It feels safe. It feels empowering. In fact the lie of white racial superiority feels so good, the truth to everyone and the exasperation of black people, be danged.
I am not concerned with Dolezal’s lies, as reprehensible as they are. In the end, they only have a minuscule effect on the racial advancement of black people.
I am more concerned with the big white lie told about white racial superiority and privilege. I am more concerned about the myths it creates and promulgates. I am more concerned that the myth of white racial superiority, if left unabated, will continue to impede the advancement of colored people beyond the Spokane Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org