It’s mind-boggling, the thought that some people have been defending Rachel Dolezal since it came to light that for years she’s been posing as a black woman. It’s also mind-boggling that some of Dolezal’s biggest defenders have been black people, while some white people have been looking at her like the basket case that she really is.
On Saturday, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry met the ire of social media after seemingly asserting that Dolezal could actually be black, despite the fact that Dolezal’s parents have said that their background was everything but black—Czech, Swedish and German.
“Is it possible that she might actually be black?” Harris-Perry questioned.
“I want to be very careful here, because I don’t want to say it’s the equivalent of the transgender experience,” she said. “But there is a useful language in ‘trans’ and ‘cis,’ which is just to say some of us are born cisgendered and some of us are born transgendered.
“But I wonder, can it be that one will be cis-black and trans-black?” Harris-Perry added. “That there is actually a different category of blackness, that is about the achievement of blackness, despite one’s parentage?”
Harris-Perry was directing her questions to her guest, Allyson Hobbs, author of A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life.
Hobbs’ book takes a look at “passing” from another standpoint, not even remotely close to what Dolezal is currently doing. Passing in the book refers to black people of mixed heritage in the 18th to mid-20th centuries who were passing as white.
But apparently Hobbs thinks Dolezal could be black as well.
“Why not?” replied Hobbs. “One thing that she said that I found so fascinating was she said her identity is multilayered, and that her identity is very complicated.”
Excuse me while I go and get MAC concealer five shades lighter than what I actually need, so I can pass as white and get me some good ol’ white privilege. Because that’s pretty much how they’re saying this works.