One thing is for sure, this is one of the more interesting stories of the year (maybe even the last few years!). The seemingly “Black” leader of the Spokane Washington chapter of the NAACP was outed as being white. To be fair, it was apparently known as far back as 2010, but only hit the mainstream now after her parents officially outed her. I at first wondered what the agenda behind that move was, but I have since learned that Rachel tried to pass off a black man as her dad (which is a blatant lie). If her parents got wind of that, then I would not blame them for doing what they could to correct the story.
Question (For the American readers):
Is it pronounced Spo-cane or Spo-can? I have always heard it pronounced as the later, but I have heard a couple of American youtubers (including one TYT guest) use the former pronunciation. I am in Canada, so I am curious if we (Canadians) have been pronouncing it wrong, possibly due to a slightly differing dialect or accent. Reply in the comments if you want.
I have not looked into this story much, but from what I have seen, she does not seem to have participated in any wrongdoing with this false identity. I do agree that this is fraud. I am not sure if that be the case if she simply identified falsely as Black verbally (and not in any official documentation). But once you fill out application forms and such as something you are not, then that is fraud.
Having said that however, I think her agenda should be considered. From what I can see, though she lied about her race, it does not look (at least at first glance) to be on account to personal financial gain. One could make the argument that she gained in terms of career (given her high position within the NAACP Spokane Chapter), but as far as I know, they have not even let her go. Though she lied her way in and up the chain of command, she was responsible for enough positive benefit for the organization that they were willing to overlook it.
Given this, I think that she should have to face the legal ramifications of her actions (namely fraud). If she filled out NAACP documentation with false information, chances are she filled out other (possibly governmental) documentation fraudulently, so she should have to answer for that. However, it should be taken into account that she does not seem to have gained a whole lot from this false identify (if anything, it seems to have been of great benefit to the Black community). Its not like she took this identity as some sort of cash grab at the expense of the impersonated race.
As such, she should have to answer for her crimes. But be lenient. Shes no Wall Street banker post 2008.
One thing that came up not long after this story went viral, was people using the term “bi-racial” in reference to Rachel. With the Caitlyn Jenner transformation still in the mainstream news of the world, I am thinking that is where some people seen a similar connection (albeit with race instead of gender). Though I don’t think that Rachel utilized the term initially, she seems to have adopted it now.
I am not sure however, that this description is accurate. For one thing, bi-racial already is a term, but it is defined differently (more applicable to children growing up in a home with parents of a differing race then themselves). But my experience in the secular community is a good example of why one should leave a bit of wiggle room in terms of dictionary definitions. As such, though the term may not include Rachel’s situations, I leave the possibility open.
However, I am skeptical of the similarity between Rachel and Caitlyn.
When it comes to Caitlyn Jenner, though she lived most of her life as a man (fathering several children in the process), internally she always know that she was living a lie. But the societal conditions around her always mandated that she keep her true self hidden away. Until now, when society has significantly warmed up to (embraced?) various LGBTQ issues and orientations.
Its is true that this is based only on the words of Caitlyn (no one can conform if this is some sort of elaborate hoax). But at the same time, given the stance of homosexuality in society until recently, and given the numbers of people that are now feeling more comfortable to publicly “Out” themselves, I do not hesitate to believe Caitlyn.
For the people that think that these orientations are a “choice”, why would you CHOOSE to embrace an orientation that GUARANTEES you persecution, and possibly even bodily harm (depending on your location and living situation). Yet this is often an argument made by the same people that perpetuate this hatred. Give your head a shake!
But either way, when it comes to Rachel, she could have internalized “American” African American culture (anything is possible). But if she was like this even from a young age, then one would wonder why signs of this would not have shown up sooner (even if within her own recollection of her younger years).
This is not even taking into consideration her childhood home, rural Montana. Though she may have grown up in the presence of a Black cultural footprint, I have my doubts.
This is not to say that she may not have embraced it upon leaving the sticks and moving to the city. But even if this was the case, it still does not make her “trans” or “bi” racial.
It should be noted that me making light of this is not me actively condemning this behavior. I don’t really care how people choose to identify themselves. That is why I didn’t write a piece on Caitlyn Jenner. As far as I am concerned, good for her. Life goes on.
That said however, though I am mostly apathetic to the given labels that people chose to identify themselves by (some I deem unnecessary barriers), one needs to be careful in utilizing terms like “trans”.
I don’t think it fits, but thats just my opinion.
I am still very interested in the mental health aspect of this situation. It seems that there are 2 possibilities. Either she is lying about everything and unwilling to admit as such. Or she has so deeply internalized this new identity that she can legitimately view questions like “Are you even Black?” with confusion.
Its an interesting thing to ponder, and I am curious what is going to come out about this down the road. Though I doubt that anyone short of Cal Lightman and Lightman Group will be able to even begin sorting this out.