I cannot wait to see this documentary that comes out on Netflix in, like, 48 hours.*
I feel so torn because, on the one hand, yeah, Dolezal is a white person who pretended to be black. And besides the mere terror of someone basically living in blackface for years, she’s also done some creepy shit that has hurt people:
- She sued Howard University, a historically black university, for discriminating against her as a white person back in 2002.
- She told the media that she had a secret black father, and that her mom and “stepfather” used to beat her and her siblings “by skin color,” which hurt her family a lot.
- She lied about receiving racist hate mail that suspiciously was never stamped or shipped, tying up police resources and casting doubt on real racist hate crimes.
- She campaigned to replace a racist hoodie with another racist hoodie.
- She hurt the NAACP and all the good organizations she’s worked for. Because by their kindness in letting her stay on despite her weirdness, they set themselves up for a backlash of anti-liberal, racially motivated criticisms.
- She set the trans community back by about a thousand years by giving both conservative and classic liberal trans-haters the example they’d all be hunting and praying for. At long last, they’ve found the perfect person to point at and say:
“Aha! If blah is blah and you blah blah but she’s not blah even though blah blah trans-racial blah, doesn’t that really prove that blah blah blah blah blah?!???”
But dammit, for all her crimes, it’s not Dolezal’s fault that racist pundits and transphobic faux-intellectuals exist. If it wasn’t for her, they’d just say “Aha!” and point to some red-headed feminist a million times.
And whatever led Dolezal to become this monstrosity, I can’t help but feel that there’s something really wrong with Dolezal that is not completely her fault. Maybe somewhere in her made-up history of fending off imaginary swastikas and being oppressed by her family for being a black man’s daughter, some of those abuses and sexual assaults she talked about receiving at the hands of family and mentors actually happened. Or maybe she’s crazy, and couldn’t press her face up to the boundary between empathy and reality without crashing through. Or maybe her fucked-up home life made her want to grow up and become the opposite of everything she was, and everything that felt like home.
And yeah, I know, boo hoo hoo, she wants sympathy for lying and being a jerk, when her whole persona is an affront to women of color, and to trans and gender fluid people, and to the very ideals she claims to have led her life for. A big part of me agrees with that. From the look of it, she’s hurt her family, her community, and her kids as well. Yes, maybe she’s a person whose personal crimes seemed harmless, or just done for the greater good, but she always knew she was doing the wrong thing, and never thought she’d get caught, and now it’s snowballed into this world of shit. Maybe she still doesn’t know what she wants or why she’s doing it, and yet inexplicably, and without wanting the fame, she’s found herself in the public eye as cultural enemy number one, a person who by accident has done one of the rarest things you can do in our polarized society, where everyone who isn’t us is either a racist or a SJW, a misogynist or a feminazi: she’s managed to offend everyone.
I guess I’m saying, I pity her.
But I don’t pity her enough not to think it’s hilarious the way her son talks to her in the trailer for this documentary! Sorry it took me so long to get to the premise of my whole thing, but yeah, from the look of this trailer, I love this kid.
Dolezal Jr., if you’re ever in Los Angeles, let’s go make fun of hippies together!
Or better yet, you can tell me how much of a hippie I am, and that I embarrass you. You’ve earned this.
*I know, I know… we shouldn’t be focusing on Dolezal, we should be blah de blah de blah. But just let me have this.