I thought we had pretty much covered the entire waterfront on the Rachel Dolezal fraud last month, but who knew that she’d show up for an encore, granting an interview to a clearly skeptical (but in this case how appropriately named) Vanity Fair magazine. VF writer Allison Samuels clearly doesn’t have much sympathy for Dolezal’s presumptions, and lets Dolezal double down with her delusions:
There have been women over the years who’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars for butt injections, lip fillers, and self-tanners for a more “exotic” look. But attempting to pass for black? This was a new type of white woman: bold and brazen enough to claim ownership over a painful and complicated history she wasn’t born into.
After making calls to what felt like everyone in black America, I was able to get a hold of Dolezal’s e-mail and cell-phone information, and we began a friendly month-long correspondence. We spoke on the phone and exchanged e-mails as events quickly shifted the nation’s focus from Dolezal’s fantastical story to an actual tragedy in Charleston. Eventually, I visited her in Spokane, Washington, where she had been voted head of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter in November 2014, the crucial, profile-raising step on her rapid ascent in the city’s black community. Throughout our exchanges, as the cameras moved on to their next assignments and public interest waned, she has simultaneously defended the identity she has carefully crafted and insisted that she deceived no one in creating it.
“It’s not a costume,” she says. “I don’t know spiritually and metaphysically how this goes, but I do know that from my earliest memories I have awareness and connection with the black experience, and that’s never left me. It’s not something that I can put on and take off anymore. Like I said, I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I’m not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be—but I’m not.” . . .
“It’s taken my entire life to negotiate how to identify, and I’ve done a lot of research and a lot of studying,” she says. “I could have a long conversation, an academic conversation about that. I don’t know. I just feel like I didn’t mislead anybody; I didn’t deceive anybody. If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that’s more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m black, and there’s a difference in those terms.”
This is a peculiar defense. If there is a difference between being black and being African American, it’s one that escapes the vast majority of people I know.
There’s lots more in the complete story which you can take in at the link above, but the closer is so utterly predictable that Tom Wolfe may have to hang it up and retire once and for all:
“I would like to write a book just so that I can send [it to] everybody there as opposed to having to continue explaining,” she says. “After that comes out, then I’ll feel a little bit more free to reveal my life in the racial social-justice movement. I’m looking for the quickest way back to that, but I don’t feel like I am probably going to be able to re-enter that work with the type of leadership required to make change if I don’t have something like a published explanation.”
Can tenure at some university be far behind?