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@HomeschoolAnon Rachel Dolezal’s Parents Don’t Matter. Black Lives Do.

June 17, 2015

There’s an article flying around that went up yesterday on another blog about Rachel Dolezal and her parents. Usually, I would just link to the relevant information trusting that you’ll follow it but this is short and I want to be sure that everyone does the reading. So here you are.

I have a complicated thing to say.

The Rachel Dolezal story has everyone up in arms right now, accusing her of racism, appropriation, and flat-out fraud. I don’t think I’m qualified to talk about the racial aspects of this story, but I am very concerned about this:

The national media has gleefully paired itself with Rachel’s parents and is now just one more tool that her parents are using against her. 

Rachel is an abuse victim. She cut off her parents years ago, and she received guardianship of one of her adopted brothers. Her biological brother currently faces charges for sexual assault, and Rachel has, apparently, been aiding the victim of that crime, prompting her parents–after years of not having any relationship with Rachel–to retaliate by outing her. 

Every time we go after Rachel, we are doing exactly what her abusive parents want. Read their quotes. Their tone, their word choice–it’s what I’ve seen again and again from abusive parents, hiding behind their own self-righteousness. They want you to hate Rachel. They want you to believe that she is lying about them. They want you to hurt her.

Abuse victims are complicated people. They can and do hurt others. They can and do make awful decisions. But blaming and pointing fingers at them without acknowledging the searing impact of child abuse doesn’t help anyone but their abusers–who want, more than anything, for you to believe that everything is the victim’s fault.

Please, when you discuss this case, do so in a way that will not make Rachel’s abusers happy. 

So hey, HA please take this as the obligatory disclaimer that is required when talking about race. I’m sure you’re very nice. I’m not saying you’re racist and so on.


This statement is mighty fucking white. Mighty white. Here’s the problem with what Carmen Green wrote on your behalf; you cannot in honesty divorce what Ms. Dolezal has done from the racial aspects of the case. But boy did you try. What she did hurt Black people. Her actions exhibit the simplest and most base forms of racism and that cannot be denied or overlooked or pushed to the side. Because it matters. Our lives and our pain matters.

We cannot divorce ourselves from our race as she did. Our race intersects every other aspect of our lives. Only Caucasians can divorce race from their people’s actions. Only Caucasians are judged as individuals when they do something wrong. Only Caucasians, when they cause harm, are viewed as victims and can use their past as “good guys” or survivors of abuse to mitigate their behavior. Black people, when we are the ones harmed, are demonized. When our children are murdered, they are called thugs and our ability to parent is called into question. White women especially, are protected from responsibility from their own behavior. Their pain becomes the focus. Their pain, past, present, or future, becomes the focus through a phenomenon called White Woman’s Tears. That’s exactly what this post does. It centers her pain rather than the pain she caused. And that is not OK.

I did something awful and you pointed it out!

I did something awful and you pointed it out!

What you have done here is set up a situation wherein it is impossible to hold Rachel Dolezal to the most basic standards of human decency or adult responsibility without “mak[ing] her abusers happy.” So, (and I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that this was unintentional) what you’ve essentially said is that the people criticizing this woman who is still causing harm cannot do so without siding with her abusers.

What they want is for everyone to question every single things she says. I get that.

I question every single thing she says because she has be living a lie for years with no regard to the pain that she was actively causing the people around her or the pain that the revelation of her lie would cause. and is still trying to continue that lie.

That is her fault, not theirs.

How about no?

How about, instead of that we hold her responsible for her adult behavior? Because she may have been abused in the past but right now? She is an abuser.

As a Black woman who is a survivor of abuse, I made a choice to address my past so as not to continue the cycle. I am responsible for my behavior.

She is responsible for hers.

Most importantly, because she is a liar, because she has spent a decade lying about every aspect of her life, the fact that she is accusing her brother of abuse makes the accusation harder to believe. And that’s horrible. And I feel horrible about it. But in my experience as someone who escaped life with a malignant narcissist, accusing other people who have succeeded of various crimes and bad acts fits the pattern.

So I’m going to try very hard to believe anything I hear from the victim while side-eyeing the shit out of anything that comes from the lying white lady.

And before you jump in with any colorblind racist, I don’t see color, Ms. Green was just trying to be respectful drivel, I will say that I recognize Ms. Green’s efforts. She failed.

colorblind clarissa

I will cede the point that Ms. Dolezal’s parent’s intentions were malignant right after you cede the point that your post painted an equally malignant abuser as a victim.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian J. Birmingham permalink
    June 17, 2015 11:25 PM

    Right on. Great article.

  2. June 18, 2015 8:16 AM

    Abuse victims/survivors often become abusive themselves- particularly emotional manipulation, which clearly she is a master of. Two wrongs don’t make a right. White people with issues and alienation from their families/communities/cultures often use other cultures & communities as a way to escape their problems and turn Black, Native and Asian cultures into an idealized community and their “long-lost family”. That wastes the time/emotional energy/resources of these communities, while not solving the underlying problems of either group.

    • June 18, 2015 3:35 PM

      Actually, survivors of abuse become abusers far less often than people think and even if the abuse in Ms. Dolezal’s childhood were a reason for current abusive behavior, so what? She’s still a racist and an abuser and she is still responsible for her behavior.

      • June 20, 2015 1:30 PM

        Thanks isobeldebrujah for putting up this blog post to call out on a claim made by Homeschool Anon which is trying to suggest that Rachel was brought up in an abusive christian fundamentalist environment. No matter how convincing are their claims about abuse in the Dolezals’ family, we cannot use that to sympathise and empathise with what Rachel had done. If their claims are true which could have shaped Rachel into developing a self-hating and self-racist complex, two wrongs still do not make one right.

        From her actions, Rachel seems to have developed a complex of self-hatred (or possibly self-racism) for who she is or her race – which I suspect as the motivation for her to lie and perhaps even gone to the extent of renouncing her roots. But this would reap just as damaging consequences as racism to the community that she wants to serve or represent. Self-hatred or self-racism should have no place in the leadership of a civil rights movement which needs racially neutral advocates who can heal the racial divides instead of intensifying them.

        I suspect that her self-racist complex might be worsened by her experience in Howard Uni according to an article in which an administration official was interviewed and he confirmed that her entire time at Howard was marked by controversy. She was questioned about her ability to understand the “black experience”. Her suit sought damages for “emotional distress” and I am speculating but I believe that was the source of her emotional distress. I read over the suit and Howard asked the court to exercise punitive action against her at some point for delaying tactics in getting medical evidence for her “emotional distress”. She couldn’t. She either couldn’t explain it herself or knew she couldn’t let anyone know what her “emotional distress” really was and it wouldn’t qualify for litigation anyway. The Howard lawsuit seems like a conundrum but this is how I read it: She DID sue for prejudice based on the fact that she was white but the unspoken subtext in her head was (and they won’t accept me as black)

        If HA’s hearsay claims are true, Rachel is free to escape from her so called racist or abusive parents and start a new life elsewhere but there is no justification for her actions of spinning tales.

        She should have made positive use of her background and roots to do good works for others whom she sincerely cared for, but unfortunately she squandered such opportunity of becoming a good role model by her deceitful actions.

        Such stories on claims of abuse from the homeschooling anonymous should not be used to the advantage of excusing the behaviour of Rachel by seeing her more as a victim of that kind of upbringing as well as the likes of her. If they are allowed to do so, more people would feel they are entitled to behave like Rachel – such attitudes with a sense of entitlement would destroy our ethical values of what it means to maintain honesty and integrity in our lives.

        No matter how abusive her biological parents could have been, majority of the readers who are of reason and sound mind – are not going to see Rachel as the victim who commit less wrong than her parents and even brother.

        While it would be interesting to shed light on Rachel’s true upbringing based on the racist nature of conservative Christians, such revelation should serve no purpose of justifying her as a victim of her upbringing that might have shaped her into someone with a self-hating complex which in turn made irresponsible actions. Having a self-hating complex would only prove that she really needs professional help to address her personal issues and also prove her unsuitability of leading NAACP whose mission should not tolerate self-racism, as well as being parent to her children who is not even allowed to know her real roots until her parents outed her race.

        If she went through the kind of abuse which some of us suspect based on claims by HA – including watching her parents abuse others with no recourse to escape, she IS dealing with PTSD and that does literal damage to the brain – damage known to interfere with the ability of the emotions to properly be regulated into reasoning processes. Emotions cannot be divorced from thought processes except in rather rare forms of brain damage. According to her biological brother’s memoir, they were forbidden to watch the TV at home – I could have imagined how such upbringing would be unhealthy for the child’s mental development or could possibly shape Rachel’s complex into what it is today.

        Despite her past predicament being shed to light, she needs to sort out her personal issues and take responsibility for her actions instead of smirking away in an unapologetic manner and evading the important questions on her personal issues which are hurting others and herself.

        In closing, here is an extract from another site on her misguided approach of pretending be in a different race to fight for civil rights –

        “If you have a heart for doing the right thing, and you look at the history — the genocide of Native Americans, slavery, the internment of the Japanese, the ongoing oppression — it’s overwhelming,” Johnson said. “They hurt people you care about. There is a phase you go through where you don’t want to be associated with the person you see as the enemy as well.”

        But a white person can’t disown his biology, Johnson said, because in doing so, he misses chances to talk with other white people about the way racism degrades life for everyone.

        Even as Dolezal made strides for Spokane’s African Americans, she was missing a bigger opportunity to explain how an unfair system benefited her, said Kristin Teigen, a Portland State University instructor who teaches about the history of communities of color in Oregon.

        When a white person attempts to pass as a person of color, “they’re denying what they have been given to get to where they currently are,” Teigen said. “By denying the ladders they have been handed in our society, it’s almost like they’re ignoring that ladders even exist.”

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