Olbermann Ties Dolezal Race Manipulation to ‘Senseless’ Charleston Shooting

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2016-01-19 18:57Z by Steven

Olbermann Ties Dolezal Race Manipulation to ‘Senseless’ Charleston Shooting

Breitbart News

Trent Baker, Sports Reporter

On Thursday’s “Olbermann” on ESPN2, host Keith Olbermann opened his show with a monologue speaking about former Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal, deceased American sports executive and the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Effa Manley, who was white and identified as black after being raised by her black step-father, and the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which he tied all of them together at the end.

“The Effa Manley story is not about passing, but both lives rise from curiosity and story telling when one remembers that biologists long ago concluded genetically there are no “races” just one species we call human beings. In the stories of both Rachel Dolezal and Effa Manley the importance and meaning we have given to skin pigmentation prove to be amazingly easy to manipulate, proved to be flexible, prove to be impermanent; prove to be remarkably inaccurate, all of which means the madness and nightmare and terrorism that unfolded last night at the church in South Carolina all of that was even more senseless.”…

Read the entire story and watch the video here.

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BBC World TV Interview Re Rachel Dolezal & Passing

Posted in Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2016-01-11 02:29Z by Steven

BBC World TV Interview Re Rachel Dolezal & Passing

Marcia Dawkins

Marcia Dawkins, Assistant Professor of Arts and Humanities
The Minerva Schools at KGI, San Francisco, California

Dr. Dee chatted roadside with BBC World News about the firestorm raging around Rachel Dolezal, the white Spokane, Washington NAACP leader who allegedly passes as black.

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Before Rachel Dolezal, what did it mean to ‘pass’?

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-01-01 00:32Z by Steven

Before Rachel Dolezal, what did it mean to ‘pass’?

Christian Science Monitor

Randy Dotinga, President
American Society of Journalists and Authors

Allyson Hobbs, author of ‘A Chosen Exile,’ says the debate stirred up by Rachel Dolezal’s resignation from the NAACP hits historic chords.

Allyson Hobbs, a history professor at Stanford University, remembers hearing a story from her aunt about a distant cousin who grew up on the South Side of Chicago during the 1920s and 1930s.

The cousin was African-American, like Hobbs. But she was light-skinned, “and when she was in high school, her mother wanted her to go to Los Angeles and pass as a white woman,” Hobbs recalls. “Her mother thought this would be the best thing she could do.”

The cousin didn’t want to go but followed her mother’s wishes. She married a white man and had children. About a decade later, Hobbs says, the cousin’s mother contacted her: “You have to come home immediately, your father is dying.”

But it was not to be. “I can’t come home. I’m a white woman now,” the cousin replied. “There’s no turning back. This is the life that you made for me, and the life I have to live now.”

This remarkable tale inspired Hobbs to investigate the long history of blacks passing as whites in her well-received 2014 book A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life.

The topic of racial passing has filled the airwaves this month amid the controversy over a once-obscure local civil-rights official named Rachel Dolezal. Hobbs adds to the debate this week with New York Times commentary that offers an unexpectedly sympathetic take amid vitriol aimed at Dolezal…

Read the entire interview here.

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Why It Was Easy for Rachel Dolezal to Pass as Black

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-29 03:34Z by Steven

Why It Was Easy for Rachel Dolezal to Pass as Black

Pacific Standard

Lisa Wade, Associate Professor of Sociology
Occidental College, Los Angeles, California

Race is more social than biological.

Source: (1)ne Drop Project

Earlier this year a CBS commentator in a panel with Jay Smooth embarrassingly revealed that she thought he was white (Smooth’s father is black) and last week the Internet learned that Rachel Dolezal was white all along (both parents identify as white). The CBS commentator’s mistake and Dolezal’s ability to pass both speak to the strange way we’ve socially constructed blackness in this country.

The truth is that African Americans are essentially all mixed race. From the beginning, enslaved and other Africans had close relationships with poor and indentured servant whites, that’s one reason why so many black people have Irish last names. During slavery, sexual relationships between enslavers and the enslaved, occurring on a range of coercive levels, were routine. Children born to enslaved women from these encounters were identified as “black.” The one-drop rule—you are black if you have one drop of black blood—was an economic tool used to protect the institution of racialized slavery (by preserving the distinction between two increasingly indistinct racial groups) and enrich the individual enslaver (by producing another human being he could own). Those enslaved children grew up and had children with other enslaved people as well as other whites…

Read the entire article here.

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When black is white and vice versa

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-12-25 04:18Z by Steven

When black is white and vice versa

The New Tri-State Defender
Memphis, Tennessee

Brittney Gathen, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Dr. Allyson Hobbs signed copies of her book, “A Chosen Exile: AHistory of Racial Passing in American Life,” during an event called “Book Talk” at the National Civil Rights Museum. (Photo: Merritt Gathen)

Stanford professor and author shines light on racial ‘passing’ at NCRM event.

Passing” – living as a part of one race despite being born into another – is often full of complexity and consequences, so much so that author and Stanford history professor Dr. Allyson Hobbs calls it a type of “exile.”

Hobbs, author of “A Chosen Exile: AHistory of Racial Passing in American Life,”examined the topic of racial passing during “Book Talk” at the National Civil Rights Museum last week (Dec. 17). During the event, Hobbs discussed topics such as the negative side of passing and her perception of former Spokane, Washington NAACP president Rachel Dolezal, who, despite being born white, lived as (and still identifies as) a black woman…

Read the entire article here.

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Rachel Dolezal: ‘I wasn’t identifying as black to upset people. I was being me’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-12-15 02:16Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal: ‘I wasn’t identifying as black to upset people. I was being me’

The Guardian

Chris McGreal, Senior Writer
Guardian US

Rachel Dolezal at her home in Spokane. Photograph: Annie Kuster for the Guardian

She became a global hate figure this year when she was outed as a ‘race faker’. Here, she talks about her puritanical Christian upbringing, the backlash that left her surviving on food stamps – and why she would still do the same again

Anyone looking for clues to the real Rachel Dolezal would do well to begin with her birth certificate. In the bottom right-hand corner, under the names of the parents who brought her world crashing down by outing her as a white woman masquerading as black, is a box for the identity of the medic who delivered her as a baby. In it is written “Jesus Christ”…

Read the entire interview here.

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In Rachel Dolezal’s Skin

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2015-12-07 21:27Z by Steven

In Rachel Dolezal’s Skin

VICE’s Women’s Interest Channel

Mitchell Sunderland, Managing Editor

Photos by Amy Lombard

In an exclusive interview, Rachel Dolezal discusses growing up on a Christian homestead, painting her face different colors as a child, and why she’s naming her new baby after Langston Hughes.

On a gloomy Saturday night in Spokane, WA, roughly a dozen people gather in the penthouse suite of the Davenport Grand Hotel for Rachel Dolezal’s baby shower. Hip-hop and jazz play on a flat-screen TV, and paper yellow duckies hang on the silver walls. While Rachel’s 21-year-old adopted son Izaiah pops a bottle of champagne, Rachel’s friends—her ex-boyfriend Charles Miller and several women—eat croissant sandwiches on disposable plastic plates. The women vary in age and race (there’s nearly an equal number of black and white guests), but when I ask them how they know Rachel, most give the same answer: “She does my hair.”

Rachel does her own hair, too. Today, she wears a black weave. “In the winter I like to have [a weave] because you don’t have to wear a hat,” she explains. “In the summer I like to wear braids and dreads—that’s just me.” The women’s conversations, though, aren’t about hair and instead revolve around the baby. An hour into the party, Rachel’s friend passes out pieces of paper for a “baby pool.” She asks the partygoers to predict the baby’s “weight, birthday, and gender.” There’s not an option for race. It’s undoubtedly a sensitive topic in this room, but no less a loaded one. After all, much of Rachel’s story is hinged on the concept that, like gender, race is a social construct

Read the entire interview here.

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The Year We Obsessed Over Identity

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-10-15 01:40Z by Steven

The Year We Obsessed Over Identity

The New York Times

Wesley Morris, Critic at Large

2015’s headlines and cultural events have confronted us with the malleability of racial, gender, sexual and reputational lines. Who do we think we are?

A few weeks ago, I sat in a movie theater and grinned. Anne Hathaway was in ‘‘The Intern,’’ perched on a hotel bed in a hotel robe, eating from a can of overpriced nuts, having tea and freaking out. What would happen if she divorced her sweet, selfless stay-at-home dad of a husband? Would she ever meet anybody else? And if she didn’t, she would have no one to be buried next to — she’d be single for all eternity. And weren’t the problems in her marriage a direct result of her being a successful businesswoman — she was there but never quite present? ‘‘The Intern’’ is a Nancy Meyers movie, and these sorts of cute career-woman meltdowns are the Eddie Van Halen guitar solos of her romantic comedies.

But what’s funny about that scene — what had me grinning — is the response of the person across the bed from Hathaway. After listening to her tearful rant, this person has had enough: Don’t you dare blame yourself or your career! Actually, the interruption begins, ‘‘I hate to be the feminist, of the two of us. … ’’ Hate to be because the person on the other side of the bed isn’t Judy Greer or Brie Larson. It’s not Meryl Streep or Susan Sarandon. It’s someone not far from the last person who comes to mind when you think ‘‘soul-baring bestie.’’ It’s Robert freaking De Niro, portrayer of psychos, savages and grouches no more.

On that bed with Hathaway, as her 70-year-old intern, he’s not Travis Bickle or the human wall of intolerance from those Focker movies. He’s Lena Dunham. The attentiveness and stern feminism coming out of his mouth are where the comedy is. And while it’s perfectly obvious what Meyers is doing to De Niro — girlfriending him — that doesn’t make the overhaul any less effective. The whole movie is about the subtle and obvious ways in which men have been overly sensitized and women made self-estranged through breadwinning. It’s both a plaint against the present and a pining for the past, but also an acceptance that we are where we are…

In June, the story of a woman named Rachel Dolezal began its viral spread through the news. She had recently been appointed president of the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. in Spokane, Wash. She had been married to a black man, had two black sons and was, by most accounts, a black woman. Her white biological parents begged to differ. The ensuing scandal resurrected questions about the nature of identity — what compelled Dolezal to darken her skin, perm her hair and pass in reverse? She might not have been biologically black, but she seemed well past feeling spiritually white.

Some people called her ‘‘transracial.’’ Others found insult in her masquerade, particularly when the country’s attention was being drawn, day after day, to how dangerous it can be to have black skin. The identities of the black men and women killed by white police officers and civilians, under an assortment of violent circumstances, remain fixed.

But there was something oddly compelling about Dolezal, too. She represented — dementedly but also earnestly — a longing to transcend our historical past and racialized present. This is a country founded on independence and yet comfortable with racial domination, a country that has forever been trying to legislate the lines between whiteness and nonwhiteness, between borrowing and genocidal theft. We’ve wanted to think we’re better than a history we can’t seem to stop repeating. Dolezal’s unwavering certainty that she was black was a measure of how seriously she believed in integration: It was as if she had arrived in a future that hadn’t yet caught up to her…

Read the entire article here.

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Rachel/Racial Theory: Reverse Passing in the Curious Case of Rachel Dolezal

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-10-05 17:46Z by Steven

Rachel/Racial Theory: Reverse Passing in the Curious Case of Rachel Dolezal

Transition Magazine

Damon Sajnani (AKA ProfessorD.us), Professor of African Cultural Studies
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Rachel Dolezal has done more than break the internet and fuel Black twitter and emcee cyphers with innumerable punchlines. She has provided the first high-profile contemporary case of racial passing from white to Black.

The vast majority of responses on mainstream and social media, even those claiming attention to nuance, pretty much accept—without justification or interrogation—that her parents’ version of the story is right and that she is wrong. Specifically, both her critics and most of her sympathizers accept the following as a “fact”: Rachel was pretending to be Black when she was really white all along. My aim here is not to defend or to condemn her, but to show that this one simple “fact” is neither simple nor self-evident.

Race is a social construct. It is a social reality, not a biological one. This fact is widely acknowledged by academics but many of them misunderstand it. Often, people who claim to know that race is a social construct make statements exposing that they really do not recognize it as such.

In “The Passing of Anatole Broyard,” Henry Louis Gates Jr. recounts the details of how “Broyard was born black and became white” (181-2). Throughout American history untold numbers of light skinned Blacks assumed white identities. This phenomenon became known as “passing” in the 1920s. Some did so temporarily, as for a job open only to whites. Sometimes they were white during the work day and Black when they returned to their families in the evening. But in many other cases, such as Broyard’s, people cut themselves off from their families completely, marrying white and raising white children oblivious to their Black ancestry. If we think of race as biological, as we have been taught, then these people were living a deception their whole lives and their children were not really white. But when we understand race as a social construct, we understand that they actually became white. There is nothing more to being, or not being, a given race than the social acceptance and societal ascription of a race to a person…

Read the entire article here.

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White or black? Sometimes it’s not so clear-cut

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2015-10-05 15:41Z by Steven

White or black? Sometimes it’s not so clear-cut

StarNews Online
Wilmington, North Carolina

Beverly Smalls

In June, as Rachel Dolezal of Spokane, Wash., confused members of the NAACP as well as her family, friends and the public about her choice to identify as an African-American, new conversations began.

Dolezal was accused of being a white person trying to pass as a black person. She stepped down as head of the NAACP’s chapter in Spokane.

Ironically, Americans of mixed heritage who appeared to be white in past centuries could gain better socio-economic opportunities by relocating to regions far from relatives known to be part African or Native American.

Unlike Dolezal, they preferred the advantages of being classified as white.

A different term, “mulatto,” defined those of mixed race, often with one white and one black parent.

If it were known, one drop of Indian or African blood in a family line could propel an individual or group of people into a lifetime of forced segregation and disadvantages in a minority community.

Having pale African-American skin could have provided advantages or separations from other black people, according to a 1930s Federal Writers’ Project.

A Wilmington man known as “Uncle Jackson,” born in 1851 and interviewed for the New Deal writers’ project, reported that there were lots of “mulatto Negros” in this region. Having a father who was part Indian and a mother who was considered mulatto, Jackson said he was not allowed to even play with “common chil’en,” white or colored.

Bygone cultural identity practices in 20th century Wilmington resulted in notable memories from descendants of mixed-race families…

Read the entire article here.

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