Self Expression Magazine

Race Doesn’t Define a Parent. My Reaction to Rachel Dolezal’s Interview.

Posted on the 16 June 2015 by Martinisandminivans @martinisandmini

rachelI’ve been following the Rachel Dolezal case over the past week more out of curiosity on how it unfolds than any political or social interest. I hadn’’t thought too much about what I felt about her actions or what my stance might be. Mainly because the world hadn’t yet heard directly from her. And believe it or not, and I know this goes completely against my New York nature, I actually like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

But something changed when Rachel Dolezal did the Today show interview this morning.

The issue went from her deception to her completely damaging statement about parenting a child of a different race.

Dolezal, a Caucasian woman who is president of the NAACP Spokane chapter who has been claiming to be African-American, finally spoke out about why she “identifies herself as African-American.”

When she first spoke, I felt supportive of what she was saying. She was talking about all the good work she has done to bridge the gap in race. How she didn’t want any of this scandal to take away from her work.

I didn’t even feel angry when she talked about not correcting people who identified her as black or when Matt Lauer asked if she purposely colored her skin and she said “I certainly don’t stay out of the sun.”

None of things really phased me too much because she obviously is helping and doing good in the world with her work.

However, where things took a turn and where I felt she disgraced the parenting community is when she talked about the situation in adopting her son, Isiah, who is African-American.

Dolezal said. “[My son] said, ‘You’re my real mom.’ And he’s in high school, and for that to be something that is plausible, I certainly can’t be seen as white and be Isiah’s mom.”

This is the quote I can’t shake. The one that makes me cringe.

Why can’t she be seen as white?

A dear friend of mine is white and has adopted two children. One from China and one from Ethiopia. Does she have to be seen as Chinese or Ethiopian to be their mom?

The color of your skin does not define your role as a parent. The way you parent your child defines your role as a parent.

I’m completely and utterly baffled how someone who strives for equality. Who fights for it tooth and nail would make a comment about the negativities of being seen white with an African-American son.

Here’s how it should be. To be seen as a parent, act like a parent. Love that child, be honest with that child, teach that child the truth in life, and be an example to them of how to live. That’s a parent. Be whatever race you are – that doesn’t matter. What matters is teaching them about theirs and appreciating the union that comes from uniting the two.

So I’m glad she resigned. Not because she pretended to be African-American but because maybe now she can show her children what truth looks like and be able to really truly make a difference in the world. Show the world that race doesn’t define a parent. Parenting defines a parent.

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