Vanity Fair does Doležal
July 20, 2015 1:55 PM   Subscribe

For a time this summer, it seemed all anyone could talk about was the N.A.A.C.P. chapter president whose parents had “outed” her as white. The tornado of public attention has since moved on, but Rachel Dolezal still has to live with her choices—and still refuses to back down.
posted by Sir Rinse (60 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Eastern Washington University, where she had a beloved part-time teaching job in the school’s Africana-studies program, did not renew her contract.

Emphasis mine. Beloved? Seriously?
posted by odinsdream at 2:19 PM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just feel like I didn’t mislead anybody; I didn’t deceive anybody.
-
For months, she showcased Albert Wilkerson Jr., a black man she met in Idaho, as her father on Facebook, a move that could only be characterized as misleading.


I might be able to somewhat entertain her kooky views on black identity being something a white person can reasonably claim if not for the active attempts at deception. It kind of seems like she doesn't really believe what she is saying or at least understood fully basically nobody else would agree with her on that.

For as much as she academically studied black culture, it seems to me like she missed some stuff along the way.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:21 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Beloved? Seriously?

Entirely possible the intended reading was that the job was beloved to her, though I agree that the phrasing was ambiguous enough to make me blink. (It's also not impossible that her students really enjoyed that class right up until things got weird, but I'd be surprised not to see the narrative there elaborated there if that's the intended read.)
posted by cortex at 2:22 PM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


cortex: odinsdream was probably referring to this.
posted by The Bellman at 2:29 PM on July 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, uh. Yeah, sort of flew right past that because I'd already been squinting at wobbliness of the literal reading. Don't mind me.
posted by cortex at 2:34 PM on July 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Doležal"? That caron feels like some pretty heavy editorializing...
posted by threeants at 2:49 PM on July 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


So like, I think maybe Dolezal doesn't really need more press for her weird and shitty behavior.
posted by kalessin at 2:51 PM on July 20, 2015 [24 favorites]


[Note: the literal vocab "transracial" angle on this and comparisons to transgender issues specifically was, for a variety of reasons, among the most problematic and weirdly malicious bits of the larger internet discussion when the Dolezal situation first exploded onto the news, and seems like a bad thing to toss in as a Well Here's An Interesting Thought sort of deal on this. Dolezal's specific history and personal narrative is probably a way, way better focus for discussion in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:53 PM on July 20, 2015 [20 favorites]


This article is such a narrow slice of everything going on with Rachel Dolezal. It's mostly just her repeating her claims about her identity. If we're going to do a post about her, there has been so much good cultural criticism that could be included as well.

To start with, she is not the first white person to pass as black...
Rachel Dolezal and the History of Passing for Black [Atlantic]
White people have been passing for black for centuries. A historian explains. [Vox]
posted by andoatnp at 2:53 PM on July 20, 2015 [13 favorites]


Ms. Dolezal isn't wearing black identity like a hat that she can take off when she wants to revert to being white.
-
She attended graduate school at the historically black Howard University (where, The Smoking Gun reported, she unsuccessfully sued for being discriminated against because she was white).

Certainly makes it look like she is willing to take it off when necessary, though she does claim she was confused for years about her identity so maybe she didn't settle on seeing herself fully as black until later.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:55 PM on July 20, 2015


Rachel brings up a lot of conflicted feelings. On one hand, I feel that identity is something personal and no one has any business telling you what and who you are. On the other hand, she lied about things (who her father was, suffering discrimination, her lived experience) and acted as a spokesperson for a group she was not born into. She exhibits attention-seeking behavior. If she had been upfront about her history, I would feel less mistrustful of her. Then again, I am not black. It is not me she needs to convince.
posted by domo at 2:55 PM on July 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


So like, I think maybe Dolezal doesn't really need more press for her weird and shitty behavior.

She's kind of a one off weirdo from who no greater lesson can be learned and it's time for her regrettable 15 minutes of fame to be over, yes. This being the last we hear of her would be good.

She'll probably go back to being a fundie once that happens, they'll listen to her tails of being wronged by hypocritical liberals forever.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on July 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


At the risk of being seen as an excuse-maker, I'd like to add that Dolezal came from the kind of fundamentalist evangelical missionary household that tries to "save" black children by adoption, homeschooling and abusive dogma. This is about as unhealthy an upbringing as parents can give out of an attempt at love. These facts are no excuse whatsoever for her behavior; they are roots.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:56 PM on July 20, 2015 [51 favorites]


A lot about the story sure does seem to slot into place once you know that, doesn't it?
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on July 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


"I could have a long conversation, an academic conversation about [how to identify]" -- might not be a bad conversation to try striking up when you have an interested and seemingly generous reporter at hand!

Sure Rachel, you never thought you'd get caught or challenged (depending on how you look at it), but didn't you think "what if...?" It would eat me alive. It's hard for me to imagine, but then I live in fear of being found out as a fake (though I've never faked anything!) Maybe we should have a fear-of-inauthenticity transplant.

I don't expect someone to change anything as habitual as (even deceptive) self-presentation tends to be instantly or even in 40 days but dang, given her education and interests I'd think she'd've come up with a bit more substantial to say by now.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 2:58 PM on July 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


And here is the first chapter of Near Black By Baz Dreisinger
posted by andoatnp at 3:09 PM on July 20, 2015


For months, she showcased Albert Wilkerson Jr., a black man she met in Idaho, as her father on Facebook, a move that could only be characterized as misleading.

This part I didn't know, and has moved me pretty squarely from "huh, maybe she's got some big issues, which is no excuse for being totally blind to everything she claims she studied" to "wow, you're a jerk, and maybe you have some big issues."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:23 PM on July 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Especially in light of the recent death of #blacklivesmatter activist Sandra Bland while in police custody, it's really fucking galling to see more media attention devoted to this charlatan, which is the nicest word I can use that won't get my comment deleted.
posted by palomar at 3:24 PM on July 20, 2015 [33 favorites]


palomar, I've been hoping someone would make a post about Bland, as I don't feel I can do the subject justice (or that it's appropriate for me as a non-POC to make it, in some ways).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:31 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Vanity Fair is mistaken when it says that "she unsuccessfully sued for being discriminated against because she was white". She claimed that she was the victim of discrimination because she wasn't African-American. The two things are obviously not the same; someone with Asian ancestry, for instance, would probably not be considered "white" by most people, but they wouldn't be African-American either. For that matter, someone with dark skin from Africa wouldn't necessarily be African-American.

Her distinction between being "black" and being "African-American" is a bit more subtle: she seems to think that "blackness" is a social construction that incorporates a particular class of persons excluded from white privilege; that it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with skin color. And ... I think this is correct in an academic sense. I mean, there's a famous book by Samuel Clemens (Pudd'nhead Wilson) that hinges on this, and that was written more than 120 years ago. But the fact that something is true in some contexts doesn't make it true in all contexts: I'm not persuaded that her identity as a black person is something innate; and part of the reason that social construct exists is that most people identified as black are thrust into that role by society, not their own choice.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:40 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Talking about this insane narcissist as if she represents anything real -- identity, academia, discrimination -- misses the most important point of all: She's done irreparable harm to the NAACP.

Imagine how the donor calls are going right now.

"We really need your help to continue our..."
"So what's up with this Dolezal character? How does that happen?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:53 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


she seems to think that "blackness" is a social construction that incorporates a particular class of persons excluded from white privilege

Sure, okay, that may be academically valid. Except the thing is that she is not excluded from white privilege and never has been. That's what pushes this into 'jerk' territory for me.

Anyway enough of this white guy talking about this. I'm interested in hearing from voices of POC, if they want to do that emotional labour.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:55 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


She's done irreparable harm to the NAACP.

Honestly I think most people moved on already. It was news of the weird for the most part. If there is lasting memory for her it will probably most be among the people who want to use her story as a cudgel against the legitimacy of another vulnerable group.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:57 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


She's done irreparable harm to the NAACP.

Honestly I feel like the NAACP handled this better than anyone else did, given the lunacy of the entire situation. Their reaction came off to me as "yeah, prior to these revelations we are very grateful and supportive of the work you've done helping this organization and it's cause, as we would be for anyone. But also, yyyeaaaah, you're a goddamn fraud and what you did is insane and your presence with us cripples any focus on the issues we want to discuss as an organization so, bye now."

And honestly, yeah, I'm annoyed and puzzled by the media bending over backwards to find colorful euphemisms for her deception. She literally pretended someone was a blood relative for personal gain. She's a fraud. Possibly an emotionally/mentally confused fraud, but a fraud none the less.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:09 PM on July 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


Considering that she sued an HBCU for discrimination before her entrance into the NAACP, does anyone else interpret her deciding to go all incognegro to be a gesture of spite?
posted by Ashen at 4:21 PM on July 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


And honestly, yeah, I'm annoyed and puzzled by the media bending over backwards to find colorful euphemisms for her deception.

The white media is uncomfortable with the idea that there are things that white people can't do. Also, people are facinated by con artists, especially the earnest kind who believe their own lines.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:23 PM on July 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


“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.”

Now all the coyness and obfuscation from Dolezal makes sense. She's waiting to get paid.
posted by The Gooch at 4:30 PM on July 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Man, I was thinking about how offensive I find the "Doležal" thing in the OP, and had to come back. What it makes me think most immediately of is the whole "Barack HUSSEIN Obama" schtick. Emphasizing the foreignness of someone's name to apparently scaffold a point is kind of shitty. I don't particularly care who the specific target is in either case, it's just...a gross discourse.
posted by threeants at 4:57 PM on July 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wasn't part of the story of her supposedly misrepresenting her family that she got custody of her younger (black) brother in order to protect him from abuse? That doesn't say anything about her personal and professional gains from presenting herself as black, but it's a pretty big thing to leave out.
posted by thetortoise at 5:02 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Or it's respectful to her heritage (if indeed that is how she spells her name) in a way that she isn't respectful to others, maybe?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:03 PM on July 20, 2015


Emphasis mine. Beloved? Seriously?

Seems likea stretch to read anything into it.

As to the subject of the post, she's...something. Don't know what, but I hope she finds a measure of peace.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:03 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just figured she was teaching Toni Morrison.
posted by box at 5:31 PM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have heard no convincing argument as to why Dolezal would claim to be black if she did not genuinely feel it was important to her identity.

Sure, she lied some to get recognized as black. But clearly this was important to her. We might find that strange or illegible, but screw going after Dolezal with such mocking authenticity narratives.

Who cares whether a person born white can legitimately claim a black identity? So what if black people (or white people or anyone else) finds that offensive? It's between her and the people to whom she made whatever misrepresentations, and I don't see how the rest of us are involved. People lie about worse things for worse reasons all the time.

The whole media spectacle and Dolezal-mocking (such as the hacek over the z), strikes me as extremely mean spirited, and without any redeeming value. Can we please just stop.
posted by andrewpcone at 5:50 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


At this point, my only response to anything involving Rachel Dolezal is "...and I am Marie of Romania."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:07 PM on July 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's between her and the people to whom she made whatever misrepresentations, and I don't see how the rest of us are involved.

I think this could be a valid point, up to the moment she agreed to be interviewed on several national morning news shows and allowed an international magazine to feature her story. Now this act of hers is everybody's business because she's willfully participated in making it everybody's business.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:16 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


>Who cares whether a person born white can legitimately claim a black identity?

Black people.

So what if black people (or white people or anyone else) finds that offensive?

It's not just offensive, it is also intensely problematic and highlights some of the issues that Black people have in the US.

It's between her and the people to whom she made whatever misrepresentations,

That would be Black people again, and the racial justice community at large.

I don't see how the rest of us are involved. People lie about worse things for worse reasons all the time.

Her reasoning could be chicken-shit bizarre, but the gravity of her actions are significant and worthy of discussion and dissection, to continue to lay bare the Very Nasty dynamics between Black people and US culture at large.

I'm not going to participate in this conversation more, but ask yourself: what are some of the social consequences of white people making claims to Black legacies and historical trauma? What does it mean that a white person can freely make use of that in the context of a political climate in which the #BlackLivesMatter movement was made possible and relevant and needed?
posted by Ashen at 6:43 PM on July 20, 2015 [53 favorites]


It's between her and the people to whom she made whatever misrepresentations, and I don't see how the rest of us are involved.

She is also alleged to have done things like publicly make fake claims of hate crimes. That isn't an entirely private matter. There are enough real hate crimes out there that need attention without further amping up tensions with diversions to phoney ones.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:47 PM on July 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. andrewpcone, whatever's happening in discussion of this lady it's not "bigoted" and if you want to be in this conversation you need to think carefully about your choice of words.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:49 PM on July 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


The whole media spectacle and Dolezal-mocking (such as the hacek over the z), strikes me as extremely mean spirited, and without any redeeming value.

"Redeeming value"? What does that even mean in an age of reality television, TMZ, and the internet? Besides, as fuse theorem points out, she's an active participant in this circus. She's obviously angling to get a book deal so she can turn a few more bucks off of her tanning booth blackface routine. She's built an entire career by stealing other people's history so pardon me if I don't shed any tears for her.
posted by MikeMc at 6:54 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wasn't part of the story of her supposedly misrepresenting her family that she got custody of her younger (black) brother in order to protect him from abuse? That doesn't say anything about her personal and professional gains from presenting herself as black, but it's a pretty big thing to leave out.


So, Libby Anne had a post about Dolezal's parents, and their particular brand of crazy. Her take was that the allegations of abuse were (1) substantiated by other individuals, and (2) fairly typical of other families that were following the same guidelines her parents were.

We have also heard testimonies from numerous homeschool alumni who grew up knowing the Dolezal family that frequent and significant child abuse occurred in the family. The parents allegedly forced both Rachel and her older, biological brother Joshua to beat their younger, adopted siblings with plumbing supply line and two foot long glue sticks, a practice inspired by Michael and Debi Pearl’s book, To Train Up a Child. (Forced sibling-to-sibling corporal punishment is sadly not uncommon in some homeschooling circles.) Such a practice conjures up troubling images of Larry and Carri Williams, another homeschooling family that abused to death their adopted child, Hana. According to our sources, infant spanking (in public in their church parking lot, even) and blanket training were also common in the Dolezal family. Additionally, Rachel’s adopted brother Izaiah Dolezal has himself raised public allegations against his parents involving physical punishment, forced labor, and isolation in out-of-state group homes.

....Rachel has also accused her parents of abuse, but given that she lied about her race, and potentially about the hate crimes she reported over the last few years, I want to emphasize that the above information comes not from Rachel but rather from numerous homeschool alumni who knew her family growing up, and from her young brother, Izaiah. Indeed, the court apparently found merit in the allegations, because they made Rachel Izaiah’s guardian when he was 16.

posted by damayanti at 6:55 PM on July 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


(thank you, Ashen)
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 7:01 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think that we need to carry ourselves with a bit more maturity about the ways we respond to her claims of being black. She has already paid the price professionally for her behavior. Any reasonable person would see that she has some significant psychological problems with her identity and all the anger and shaming really won't do any good. Consider berating and insulting someone with severe depression for "not just cheering up" or to "stop being such a Debbie downer." You would feel like a real jerk if you have knowledge of real depression.
Her upbringing definitely indicates she might need some subtle, long term deprogramming or those around her will just need to accept her delusion.
posted by Muncle at 7:10 PM on July 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Speaking of complicated feelings about race as a social construct, I highly recommend the documentary Little White Lie. PBS debuted it. NPR's Codeswitch discussed it.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:27 PM on July 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I hope she finds a measure of peace

I hope she finds a way to pay back some measure of the damage she's done to people more vulnerable then herself. Then perhaps she'll find peace.
posted by aramaic at 7:33 PM on July 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm almost willing to give her some points for admitting she is trying to pimp this whole sad episode out for a book deal. Almost.
posted by holybagel at 7:43 PM on July 20, 2015


"Blanket training" is something I had to look up.

Basically, you put a baby on a blanket, and you hit it every time it crawls off.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:54 PM on July 20, 2015


Until it stops trying to crawl off.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 7:59 PM on July 20, 2015


It seems to me that the sad irony of this story is that she did not trust the community she held in such high regard to love and accept her as she is.
posted by 4ster at 8:00 PM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ugh. I hope posting Little White Lie did not seem, clueless, offensive or--worse--seem like I'm suggesting Lacey Scwhartz is the same as Rachel Dolezal. Guess my privilege is showing--I absolutely would not suggest that, as Ms. Schwartz had her identity given to her and never chose to lie about herself.

Still Lacey Schwartz has made a very interesting documentary about her very strange upbringing and how it has shaded her view of herself as an American woman of mixed race. It's a fascinating story on many levels and one which Ms Schwartz approaches with frankness.

I think there is a complicated and interesting question about race as a social construct in the U.S. and I think Ms Schwartz's story is a better place than Ms Dolezal's to look at the questions.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:19 PM on July 20, 2015


I think that we need to carry ourselves with a bit more maturity about the ways we respond to her claims of being black. She has already paid the price professionally for her behavior. Any reasonable person would see that she has some significant psychological problems with her identity and all the anger and shaming really won't do any good.

The anger and the shaming might not work on her, but if it shuts down other people who think that it's acceptable to dial up cultural appropriation to 11 as long as they reallyreallyreally want to be black, then that's "doing good" in my book.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2015


That's what blanket training is...?

I'm gonna go read something nice for a while before bedtime.
posted by notyou at 10:02 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's what blanket training is...?

I'm gonna go read something nice for a while before bedtime.


Yeah, I noticed it was in the quote and debated glossing it. It's not only physically abusive (in that you're hitting your baby), but also emotionally so, as it's essentially punishing a child for attempting to act out on their natural curiosity and inclination to explore.

So, yeah. For all Dolezal's craziness, it's seems to be accurate that her parents were following the methods of "Christian" guidebooks that promote this sort of thing and Dolezal and her siblings were likely victims of abuse.
posted by damayanti at 5:06 AM on July 21, 2015


Rachel Dolezal's live interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer from back in June 2015 as the story was developing. [10 minute video]
posted by Sir Rinse at 5:52 AM on July 21, 2015


Personally, I'm tired of adult bad behavior being waved away with armchair mental illness diagnoses.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:54 AM on July 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm with girlmightlive there. Yes, she probably has something wrong with her on a pretty deep level. That doesn't excuse her behaviour.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:32 AM on July 21, 2015


I am bothered by people who persist in thinking her cultural appropriation is no big deal. It would have been annoying and Just Weird or Mental or whatever UNTIL she started speaking for Black women in a classroom and for the media as a Representative Speaker.

Each and every time she did that, and not only when she made money doing it, she was taking the microphone and podium away from a woman of color and erasing her voice. As IF their voices aren't erased enough (which of course she ought to know full well), and ignored and disbelieved enough. As IF there were limitless podiums and microphones and it's somehow no big deal because she was saying what they hope a black woman would say. By being a master liar and taking it to this degree, she vindicates people who often REFUSE to believe that hate crimes exist or that racism exists on a daily and persistent level for many people.

I have experience watching what happens when white people pretend to be Indian around my community, and it is sickening, because the reality is that the White Mainstream Media instinctively prefers a "white-sounding" voice, and so when they find an activist-representative who wants the spotlight, who wants the microphone and who coincidentally "sounds white" (because HELLO, they secretly ARE WHITE), they gravitate toward that person, giving that person even more of a voice than they otherwise would have. I have even had conversations with local media who claimed that they KNEW the person in question wasn't really Native American, but calling them a "Native American activist" was like calling them an "animal rights activist." wtf and smh forever and ever.

Cultural appropriation is wrong because it is the millionth example of white privilege in action, colonizing and taking whatever they feel like because they feel entitled to, whether it's because they "felt Black" when they were children or they just really like hip hop music and want a 'fro. But it becomes criminal and fraud when someone deliberately takes away the limited opportunities for people of color to speak for themselves.
posted by RedEmma at 9:27 AM on July 21, 2015 [28 favorites]


I suppose I should applaud the writer for the "get" as it were, although she spends enough column inches relating how difficult it was to obtain Dolezal's information and get her to agree to the interview, that I have to assume that was the point. So well done, Ms. Samuels, for scoring what I have to assume is the first shot of Ms. Dolezal's media offensive. (A book was tantalizingly mentioned, wasn't it?)

That said, I found the piece to be almost intolerably lightweight and thin on actual insight. There was, near as I could tell, only one quote that wasn't from Dolezal herself, and it was from a previously published interview with the woman who replaced Dolezal at the NAACP. I have to assume (or maybe I just want to) that Dolezal must've had some extensive stipulations for cooperating with the article and the photographs. How else could explain such a thin piece?

Personally, I was really itching to hear from her parents -- why did they "out" their daughter? How do they feel now that her secret has been revealed? Have they spoken with their daughter since this happened? What about the opinions/insights of literally anyone else into why this woman's brain works the way it does? Maybe a psychologist or two? Or, you know, a black person in Spokane? Anything?

(On a side note, was anyone else a little stunned to see Dolezal posing in front of her front door, street number and eye-catching color in full view, in this era of Google Street View?)
posted by gern at 12:40 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno, and it probably doesn't necessarily reflect well on me, but I just can't get enough of this story. I would also like to hear from her Africana-studies students, some anonymous Howard administrators, and at least one of her regular hair clients.
posted by box at 1:17 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Same here, box. I'm always fascinated with debates about authenticity in all sorts of contexts. I would have thought by now that Dolezal would have conceded that some of her actions and statements are clearly just intentionally misleading, but double down on her odd interpretation of "blackness."

I think a lot of us have aspects of our identities that feel true, but when subjected to strict scrutiny would feel a bit squishy. For instance, I self identify out here in the northwest as Boston born and raised, but one could easily argue that is not true. I was born in Boston and lived in and around it for the first 36 years of my life, but if you did the math on how many nights I put my head down on a pillow within the strict city limits...well, my short-hand would look like a pose.

I think what I find fascinating is when someone moves from shading the truth to outright telling untruths. Where is the line?

Dolezal's reluctance to admit any intentional prevarication makes me think she is just a terrible liar and surprised that she made it so far in her "reverse passing."
posted by Cassford at 5:00 PM on July 21, 2015


I have heard no convincing argument as to why Dolezal would claim to be black if she did not genuinely feel it was important to her identity.

Well, cynically, she may have benefited from affirmative action programs when applying for jobs as a college / university instructor. She may also have found her ideas were taken more seriously when framed as coming from a POC.

I'm not saying that's a "convincing argument" but one would have to be pretty naive to not have it arise as a strong suspicion that parsimoniously explains her otherwise highly opaque series of decisions.
posted by Rumple at 8:41 AM on July 22, 2015


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