Who Benefits from the Wall-to-Wall Coverage of Rachel Dolezal?

June 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Rachel Dolezal was, until recently, the head of the Spokane Washington chapter of the NAACP. About a week ago, a white couple announced they were her biological parents. Rachel Dolezal had, until that point, identified and been known as a Black person. Mainstream media made this a huge national story, devoting hours to controversy over Rachel Dolezal identifying herself as Black.

In light of the Rachel Dolezal “revelations,” revcom.us is posing four questions for our readers to ponder and discuss with others. All who read this should think about these questions in light of what these “revelations” have to do with focusing people’s attention away from the crimes committed every day in this society against Black and Latino people, from the murder and terror by police and the daily struggle people face just to work and survive. Over the last months people across this country, from all corners of society, have stood up to oppose murder by police and unity between different people has been built. And now, all we hear about is Rachel Dolezal. So why is this the big story people are being asked to focus on?

Think about these questions:

1. What has been the impact of the media changing the subject of the national conversation from police brutalizing and murdering Black people and others across the country, to the supposed scandal around Rachel Dolezal? What is the impact of changing the subject? The subject is the oppression by this system—and rampant murder of—people at the hands of this system and its enforcers.

2. Whatever Rachel Dolezal did or didn’t do is not the issue and not the story. And what’s the big crime? That somebody who identifies themselves as Black wants to take up the struggle for equality and freedom for Black people—what’s wrong with that? What’s with the “policing of boundaries” between Black and white people and making sure that people who are white identify themselves as white and “own their whiteness”? And why should anyone want to do that? Black people in this country face the most brutal oppression every day, and they face murder by police at any time—what’s wrong with standing with the oppressed?

3. To those who would say Rachel has no right to speak to the oppression of Black people, here’s a question: What’s so great about Black people “owning” their oppression and excluding all others from standing against this oppression? Doesn’t everyone have the right and responsibility to oppose white supremacy?

4. And again, who benefits from this wall-to-wall coverage of Rachel Dolezal? And whose interests does this serve?


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