Why Jamaicans Shouldn’t Criticize Rachel Dolezal

Picture source starcasm.net

“Mi have likkle coolie inna mi”

“Him have good hair ’cause him mix”

“Har great-great, great-great, great grandfather was quarta Irishman, that’s why she suh brown”

How many times have you heard dark-skinned Jamaicans say something like this? How many times have you said it?

To this day I still can’t understand why people love jumping on the bandwagon of criticism, not realizing that they are sometimes back-lashing themselves.It’s just funny to think how ready people were to crucify a woman who altered her complexion and her hair to look more like a race she [apparently] esteems. Yes colour/culture appropriation is wrong, and yes you should embrace the person God made you to be, but um, hello? Haven’t we [Jamaicans especially] been appropriating white culture for years now?

Culture agents can tell you that the Jamaica of today looks nothing original, especially where language and dress styles are concerned. People still frown upon the use of the Jamaican Creole, which is the way it is because of its heavy African inflections, plus, persons still point and stare whenever someone in a dashiki walks by. A mix of European and American influence. There are so many Jamaicans with American accents that even when I meet one of them, I still find myself asking, “Yaa Jamaican? Yuh sure? Yuh did migrate an’ jus’ come back or sumn? ‘Cause yuh couldn’ live yah all along and sound suh.”

Then comes to mind – skin bleaching. Remember Dionne Jackson Miller’s famous documentary on the Nadinola lovers? The image that stood out the most to me was of the girl who was being wrapped in plastic like a mummy. Isn’t that a foreshadowing? Even the wrapper said it could kill you if you use this method excessively. Now this lady doesn’t identify with her blackness, but did anybody drag her name through the mud for trying to look other than black? Technically the documentary itself was a sort of finger-pointing, but a lot of persons chose only to view it as comedy and then be blinded by their laughter. No one saw this as a form of appropriation.

Secondly, Rachel’s hair. Styled to match what an African-American woman’s hair might look like if she had a lot of white in her ancestry. Or maybe it’s a wig. Need I remind the black community of the perms they’ve been getting for decades? The flat ironing sessions? The good-up good-up Brazilian weave? If you know you’re one to try any of these methods then don’t think of bashing a white woman who might sport cornrows and braids in her hair. You’re BOTH culprits of culture appropriation.

Now I’m not defending Miss Dolezal. I do however think that for the specific position she held as leader of the of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP], she shouldn’t have kept her true identity a secret. I’m sure that if she was honest from the beginning, while continuing to service the blacks of America, then probably no one would mind giving her the position. I think a person should be defined by their works, not their looks, although this would introduce the argument of having a white person stand in as ‘saviour’ for blacks, etc.

But what does her going to such lengths to be accepted by the black community really say to you? To me it reads in one of two ways:

1. Either she’s just plain crazy, or

2. She really cares for blacks so much that she thinks looking like one is an excellent way to demonstrate that [forgive me] #blacklivesmatter.

What do you think?


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