I liked The Rachel Divide, Netflix’s Rachel Dolezal documentary. The big question is, why won’t she just admit she’s white?
She’s easy to hate for being dishonest and not getting it, but I think her upbringing makes her choices understandable and she’s a tragic figure.
If your parents are white Pentecostals literally whipping black children, that’s probably traumatizing, which can produce splitting (“black-and-white thinking”). Clearly the parents are Bad, so the opposite must be Good. You know you definitely can’t identify with the parents…
So, more than most people, Rachel Dolezal saw the ugly side of whiteness. She’s easy to hate, but the majority of white people fail at the same thing she fails at. She doesn’t know how to be a person if she’s white and all she knows about white people is true. Rather than face reality, she disavows her whiteness and constructs a fantasy identity.
The key is, what will a white person do when confronted with harsh realities about how they’re making the world work? Instead of disavowing their whiteness, they usually disavow the facts and attack the messenger.
They don’t have a model of non-fucked up white people to identify with, so they pull some bullshit defensive maneuver.
It’s an unwillingness to face the truth that race is involuntary, fated. If they’re stuck on Team White People, knowing what they know, they have a clear moral duty to do something about it. Accepting that duty has serious social costs: the whites will hate you for your nigger loving and the blacks won’t accept you as one of their own. It’s lonely being right.
Huey P. Newton:
To [Bakunin], the first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man. Unless he understands this, he does not grasp the essential meaning of his life…Considering how we must live, it is not hard to accept the concept of revolutionary suicide. In this we are different from white radicals. They are not faced with genocide…The Black Panther Party is in the vanguard of the revolution that seeks to relieve this country of its crushing burden of guilt. We are determined to establish true equality and the means of creative work.
This is the reason “allies” are hard to trust, in general.