Alicia Walters

I Became a Black Woman in Spokane, But I Was a Black Girl First, Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal is, after this week, a symbol to many African Americans of the separation of blackness from black people; to me, she is an example of how American society simultaneously devalues the individuality of black women and us as a community to the point that the performance of black womanhood is preferred over the people. If blackness can simply be worn or performed, then every white woman with a weave and a cause, every white girl with a snap and a little attitude, can supplant the lived experiences of what it is to become a black woman: the journey of discrimination, the camaraderie of sisterhood, discovering the deep sense of responsibility and weight of the world, and ultimately finding the inner strength and acceptance that can only be built through struggle.

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