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14 June 2015



Great post!

Gema Gray

I've been following this story myself. I admit to being very confused. Apparently Dolezal is in some legal dispute with her parents, so I suspect their public comments are a strategic ploy related to whatever the lawyers are doing.

I would love to hear from those in the know about Dolezal and her self identifying as black, despite apparently being genetically white. Is she perpetrating some kind of fraud or do we respect her wishes and consider her black? If the latter, doesn't this open the door to all sorts of white people choosing to identify as black in order to garner preferential treatment in some circumstances (grants and scholarships only available to minorities for example)?!

Also, if - as reported - she has been changing her appearance to seem more black, could this be the manifestation of mental illness? I can't help but draw parallels to Michael Jackson's efforts to appear more white.

But, I respect and accept a person's self identity on issues regarding gender and sexuality...should I not do the same for the issue of race?

And yes, I totally agree that race shouldn't mater. That we should all treat each other the same regardless of skin color, but human nature and society are not constructed that way.

This is very complicated. I am confused and would welcome any insight you or your readers could give, Katz.

As for these parents - Ugh! Once your kids are adults (mine just turned 18 a few months ago!!!), your number one role shifts from keeping them safe to providing unconditional support and a safe landing place when they make mistakes. regardless of any dispute between them, this public put-down is all wrong.

sue katz

Gema, what a thoughtful reply. As I said, I've been listening hard to the people I respect and Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC had a riveting panel discussion on this whole question. I'll try to post it on FB. There aren't any clear answers and I think there are multiple directions from which to approach the construction of race. Thanks for writing.

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