The story of Rachel Dolezal doesn’t have legs: it has octopus arms and labyrinthine twists. Its reach and longevity have been astonishing, and speak to the fragility and pain of understanding race in this world.
I wonder about giving so much attention to someone who has not brought something good into dialogue. That, of course, is too often the nature of information and media today. The people laboring in civil rights and human rights–doing positive, life-changing work–will never get the kind of coverage that Rachel Dolezal has received.
Among the many mysteries of the Dolezal story has been the role of adoption and the meaning of “transracial.” As the white parent of four transracially adopted children, now all young adults, I’ve never been and never will be black or biracial. I believe I’ve been an imperfect ally, aware of both racism and of white privilege, aware of the need for mentors and role models for my children, aware that exclusion, indignities, and micro aggressions are part of my beloved children’s lives.
The novelty of Rachel Dolezal has captured many keyboards, many hours of time by many people. As someone long involved in transracial adoption issues, I hope to see conversations about race and identity continue, especially in a public forum, though not necessarily focused on one individual. We have such a long way to go, and so many people in our racial and adoptive community continue to be voiceless and vulnerable.
All that said lol, as an ally, I’d be remiss if I did not mention these articles about the realities of transracial adoptees in light of the Dolezal discussions. Important words here.
“Transracial Lives Matter: Rachel Dolezal and the Privilege of Racial Manipulation”
“Rachel Dolezal Draws Ire of Transracial Adoptees”
“Open Letter: Why Co-Opting ‘Transracial’ in the Case of Rachel Dolezal is Problematic”