RACE IN AMERICA: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND BEING BLACK
Well here I go again diving into the deep end of the pool with an anvil tied to my back. No one will really like this post because it picks at the never healing scab of a wound in the chest of America that won’t heal in your lifetime no matter how old you are. Louis Armstrong an entertainer whom I consider a close friend explained racism and bigotry in America like this. “Freddie,” he said, “as long as there is more than one white grown man in America with low self esteem there will be bigotry. As long as there’s one rich white grown man who realizes money can’t buy him happiness that sees a black man laughing and free no matter his station there will be racism.”
I can’t argue with any of that. What I can try to unwind is what Rachel Dolezal is being accused of after it has been reported that she, an NAACP chapter President in Spokane, Washington isn’t black after all. She’s as white as you can get in America having been born in Montana to two white parents. All of this is curious especially when you consider that many of her friends with which she grew up with said she identified culturally with black American culture.
So what makes Dolezal different from the beautiful African-American pictured above? Well it’s as simple as one word–black. It is the connotation and all the Samsonite that comes with the word black in American culture that makes what Dolezal did such a conundrum for Progressives like myself and conservatives as well. Is this a straight con to get a job and artistic notoriety or is it a natural urge that gave this formerly white woman comfort? As a journalist it’s not up to me to answer those questions but it is a part of my duty to ask them.
I’ll leave this here for the same reasons that there was no reason for me to write about Caitlyn Jenner. There are already pounds of opinions on the Internet that have raked the coals and plowed that field enough. Meh. What Dolezal has done is to force America to understand that America is changing, dramatically and quickly socially. Maybe it’s no longer possible to choose to be black because blacks cannot tolerate this from a moral standpoint after centuries of suffering the dual fists of bigotry and racism from rich and poor whites alike. Maybe it’s a matter of the shifting demographics and a purely economic and political decision that allowed her to make positive career choices she wouldn’t have had as a white woman in the same environment. Or maybe Rachel Dolezal just wanted to work somewhere that allowed her to have her hair natural all the time. I invite her to tell us here at the Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork because that would be quite the scoop.
Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
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