My mind has been spinning non-stop this past week, swirling in the aftermath and analysis of hate. We have witnessed so many innocent people being gunned down b/c they are black, and then a rash of hateful, dismissive, and/or devaluing remarks towards a woman because she identifies as black. Both incidents have made me very sad, and the irony has not been lost on me and others, like my friend Lakenda (who, incidentally, is a dark skinned African American woman). She pointed out that perhaps some people have had such a hard time with Rachel Dolezar is because they think it’s so terrible to be black that they assume that anyone who could feel being black is their truth and their true identity, without having been born black, must be crazy. Maybe this is indeed what is at the heart of it, but in any case, I am tired of all the hate, de-valuing of humans, and divisiveness.
Let’s have today be about love. Love and compassion for all the many different kinds of humans and the many complex ways we identify ourselves, even if they are hard for us to understand.
That sentiment is what’s going to be at the heart of my discussion today with a group of graduate students from Stanford. It’ll take place in the San Francisco Women’s Building, which is awesome as I have so many fond memories of events there and have always loved the mural on it, designed by Latina artist and scholar Juana Alicia, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in the early 90’s.
If you want to read something in order to help you think about R.D. and the responses to her, this essay by African American female scholar Angela Jones, PhD, takes a more in depth, logically sound look at the issue than anything else I’ve seen so far. I share her sentiments, and encourage you all to read it.