Self-hatred is nothing to laugh about—neither are delusional tendencies. That said, there was something so surreal about the spectacle of a 16-year-old black girl named Treasure insisting she was white on Dr. Phil’s unbelievably long-running talk show on Wednesday that The Root staff couldn’t help but shake our heads in confusion and laugh uncomfortably.
We mentioned that her name is “Treasure,” right?
Was it for real? We’re still debating that amongst ourselves, since Treasure’s outrageous behavior was eerily like an Atlanta episode come to life. But if it was a performance, the teenager kept it up admirably well—that is, if one could find anything admirable about glibly espousing every single horrible stereotype about black people while denying that you are, in fact, also one.
Frankly, we couldn’t stomach the entire episode, but in the barely digestible chunks we managed, this hypothetical love child of Candace Owens and Stacey Dash (with Paris Dennard as a possible donor) took the schtick of the self-hating Negro to new heights. Not only does Treasure claim to be Caucasian (as she so fondly kept repeating), but apparently equates whiteness with being racist. As if it weren’t enough to deny having any African features whatsoever (clearly avoiding all mirrors), she felt compelled to denigrate the race in every way imaginable, whenever possible. She even professed to be obsessed with the Ku Klux Klan (insert eye-roll here). I mean, her racism wasn’t even original.
Even Dr. Phil appeared to be horrified, and he should be (after all, a black woman gave him his platform). We’re no therapists, but Treasure demonstrated some clearly narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies; her mother recalls her mutilating her black dolls as a child, and as a now near adult, she proudly proclaims that she has zero empathy for others. In fact, Treasure believes that the only way to succeed is to oppress others (which sounds like pretty much every slaveholder ever, Adolf Hitler and the oligarch in the Oval Office she no doubt supports, but I digress).
But of course, behind most comedy is intense tragedy. Again, we didn’t have the stamina to endure a full hour of Treasure’s self-hatred, but there were suggestions that her mother, who raised her and her brother alone (he seems to have been spared the pathology) may have misled her daughter about her parentage, and ... cue Treasure’s identity crisis.
Dr. Phil’s other guest, Atlanta-based life coach “Spirit,” broke down the girl’s bizarre behavior pretty succinctly when she said: “It’s not that she hates black people; it’s that she hates herself.”
And again, that’s no laughing matter—and, if Treasure’s beliefs are genuine—not only does she need help, but her delusions speak to how insidious racism is upon the lives and identities of our children. That this non-racially-ambiguous child would be so mortified by the fact of her blackness that she would reverse-Dolezal herself is inexplicably sad. Even sadder is the fact that there are more out there like her.
Then again, she name-checks Kim Kardashian several times during her interviews, so maybe this is all a deeply misguided and perverse bid for attention. Either way, if we’re laughing, it’s only to keep from crying.