As ridiculous as all of this sounds, because, let's face it, white people have nothing to be ashamed of, whatever shame or embarrassment they might feel is from this new push for racial dominance by minorities. White people aren't even allowed to participate in the arguments for or against racism anymore. Because of this, many now feel they are without an identity.
Daniel Tatum said we need to change this. We need to give White people new ways to identify as White. Because at the end of the day, we need White people to see that we are White. When we recognize and own our Whiteness, we can account for our own portion, our one 1/billionth of responsibility for what White people have done throughout history. We can work with other White people to begin to challenge bias, ignorance and colorblindness. We can use our privilege to confront the sources of that unfair favoring.
I was lucky. The Black family I embedded myself in during my “Rachel Dolezal phase” insisted on my inherent goodness, and that of my family and even — I thought this was a stretch — of my ancestors. They helped me focus on my capacity to make change as a White person. They appreciated my desire to be Black, they teased me, they let me know in no uncertain terms that I would never be Black. I read James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Steve Biko. I swore off White authors. But the Black authors I read saw the immersion stage coming, and they reminded me that Black people don't need White people to help them pursue liberation, that the job of White people lies with teaching other White people, seeing ourselves clearly, owning our role in oppression.
I'm not sure what happened with Rachel Dolezal. Maybe it was mental illness. Maybe it was a desire to connect to her adopted brothers. Maybe she felt safer and more loved in Black communities. Maybe it felt good to distance herself from the overwhelming oppressiveness of Whiteness — her own and that of her country and of her ancestors. But the lesson for me is remembering how deep the pain is, the pain of realizing I'm White, and that I and my ancestors are responsible for the incredible racialized mess we find ourselves in today. The pain of facing that honestly is blinding. It's not worse than being on the receiving end of that oppression.
White people should not have to face the truth of what white people did almost four hundred years ago, and modern black people have no right to keep bringing it up and claiming offense at something they weren't alive to be offended by.
The first white people to sell slaves where Dutch, and they didn't go to Africa with the intention of buying slaves. African tribal leaders sold their own people into slavery in exchange for weapons and other goods. Rachel Dolezal and the writer of this Huffington Post article, who is slightly less delusional than Dolezal, should serve as a cautionary tale, and the dangers to this new wave of “racism”.