I do not know #RachelConfused, but I know enough about her to know that she saw fit to exercise her vast white and fair skinned privilege to try and escape her own inherent collusion with dehumanizing systems. It may be a seemingly unique response to white guilt and fragility, but it is still one fundamentally rooted in denial. This makes her not just confused and dishonest, but also a coward.
As a professional educator and a civil rights advocate, I think it is a realistic expectation that #RachelConfused should know the difference between with and as, as in identifying as African American vs. with African Americans. The former is both delusional and insulting the latter, potentially laudable.
I understand it. It can be confusing. You cannot quantify one’s blackness, certainly not by skin tone, ethnicity, political allegiances, interests, or involvement in the community. The black community in the U.S. is diverse, so is our culture. Jelani Cobb nailed this.
There is however a black community and black personhood, which I feel #RachelConfused trounced upon.
Black community and personhood is forged in a crucible that one cannot opt into, nor opt out of. It is a story of resilience and struggle that is literally encoded in our DNA. It is the knowledge that any life grown from your womb or seed (if this becomes your journey or not) will be part of this lineage — indelibly etched by it. The culture reflects it.
There is not virtue in victimhood, but there is redemption in truth. The truth is that the world is not forgiving to blackness, not culturally, nor institutionally. Don’t believe me, just look at any statistics on disparate impact. You can Google it.
#RachelConfused is a coward, because she did not go against engrained systems of power and privilege to be and live as her authentic self. What she did was self-aggrandizing; it was fetishizing and otherizing; and it is the co-option and attempted usurpation of black humanity.
There is a whole body of pain and pride written by our collective blood, sweat and tears. Our story is on the inside, marking the pages and she tried to put her name on the cover.
Author’s Note: I waited to hear Rachel give her response. I did and was deeply unsatisfied with her explanation of her actions.