I could never really understand why people who bought Milli Vanilli‘s music were so upset when it was revealed that those two guys in Milli Vanilli didn’t really sing any of those Milli Vanilli songs. Purchasers still got the music they heard on the radio. The actual recording artists were still singing the right songs the right way.
I’m reminded of that by the revelations that Rachel Dolezal, head of the Spokane NAACP chapter, may actually not be black.
The mother of Rachel Dolezal — an NAACP leader in Spokane, Washington, who identifies as African-American, though her parents claim she is white — said Friday that her daughter “has not explained to us why she is doing what she’s doing and being dishonest and deceptive with her identity.
I haven’t seen a lot of details on this story, so I honestly don’t know what exactly she’s been doing. Has she been following the standard psychopath playbook of telling whatever lies will get her what she wants? If so, then I hope she goes down in flames.
On the other hand, if she just grew up with a lot of black people, including family members, and always feel like she identified with the black community more than the surrounding white culture, it’s hard to find fault with her for showing solidarity with those she considers to be her people.
The NAACP statement on Rachel Dolezal is interesting:
One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership. The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record.
I guess even though she’s white, she’s still singing the right song.
Update: Okay, I may have posted too soon… It’s starting to look like she went beyond just claiming a black cultural identity. Stories are circulating that she posted a picture of herself with a black man who she claimed was her father, even though he’s not.
She also claims to have been the victim of considerable racially-themed harassment by unidentified perpetrators. These could be legitimate threats, but they include written threats that did not come through the mail and break-ins at her home, all of which could easily be faked to try to get people to support her.
Then there’s her quote that “We’re all from the African continent.” This is technically true, but it’s not what we mean in this country when we say someone is African-American. That sounds like the sort of careful parsing you’d get from a practiced liar.
This is starting to sound less like confusion over identity and more like deception, possibly for personal reasons.