The Rachel Dolezal story is a mixture of the incredible and the unfathomable. Dolezal was a prominent activist in the African-American community in Spokane, Washington State and a lecturer in Americana. Her Facebook page had a picture of her father, a black man who had fled Florida after defending himself from a white racist cop. Dolezal herself recently reported receiving racist hate mail and finding a noose on her lawn. But then it all went tits up. Her real parents surfaced in Montana, both white with some Native American heritage. They had a picture of Rachel at 16, pale and blonde. Rachel’s son Iziah turned out to be her adopted brother whom she had then herself adopted. Another adopted black brother, Ezra, denounced her as a fraud and claimed she had told him not to “blow her cover”. Years earlier, Dolezal had sued a predominantly black college for discriminating against her as a white woman. Spokane Police had dismissed her claims of racial harassment and thought she had made them up. Once outed, Dolezal portrayed herself as a victim of racism. She identified herself as black, she said, side-stepping the question about her white parents. She maintained that there was no evidence (save for the birth certificate) that they actually were her birth parents. As a little girl she had drawn herself with a brown crayon rather than a peach crayon because she had always felt black. Confusingly, the picture of her as a blonde teenager was taken when she did not feel black. She “did not stay out of the sun”, she said in answer to the question about whether she had St. Tropez Extra-Dark delivered to her home by tanker. And so on.
Wet liberals everywhere, WTF included, tied themselves into more knots than a boy scouts’ bonanza. Last week, they had all championed Caitlin Jenner, né Bruce and her right to transgender because she always knew that she was a woman – so why couldn’t Rachel be transrace as she had always known that she was black? They wanted to feel her pain. She had lived as an African-American, she had experience of what it was to be an African-American, she was the mother of African-Americans. Race is only a social construct, they said – we are all actually black in some way, no one is pure black or pure white. But then there was the liberal duty to ensure that ethnic minorities had their own racial identity without others barging in. And how to ignore those members of the black community, whatever their skin tone, outraged at Dolezal’s deception?
Here’s the thing. Many people belong to more than one race. The shorthand of ethnicity is increasingly out of date. And there is a fine line between pride in your racial origins and a refusal to acknowledge that others may also share them or want to adopt them. But it is one thing openly to change your gender or your religion or to adopt a new cultural identity; it is quite another to invent new parents and parents’ backstories and racial attacks that never happened and to make your siblings complicit and then to condemn others as not black enough to be able to express their identity, as Dolezal did. She became an important member of the African-American community and undoubtedly did good work. But she could have done equally good work as the wife and mother and colleague and friend and neighbour of and spokesperson for African-Americans without lying about herself. People have always taken on new identities to escape persecution or death; in Europe Jews have lived as Christians, in America blacks have lived as whites. Dolezal was never in that position. It may be that she is suffering from some personality disorder, in which case she deserves sympathy. Or (sadly, WTF suspects this is the case) it may be that she is a chancer, in which case no liberal hand-wringing should excuse her. You want to know what racism really means. Go to Charleston. Experience that.
To the week’s sartorial nastiness,starting with actress Zoe Saldana at the LA Film Fest wearing Louis Vuitton.
The print is beautiful, like stained glass windows in a church as dusk falls. However, the dress is busier than Heathrow Airport and deficient in the sleeve department to the tune of one, something WTF hates almost above all things. Why would a dress have only one sleeve when the wearer has two arms?
More pattern but this is one gives you a headache. Here is Polish supermodel Anja Rubik wearing Emilio Pucci.
Dah dah, dah dah! Retinal damage alert! Making AIDS history is laudable but this dress should be made history ASAP before charitable fashionistas go blind.
FFS! He is becoming a regular. I speak of Formula 1 Champion Lewis Hamilton looking a right prat.
There is a village missing an idiot and here he is. Was that jacket made by his mum from those cross-stitch tapestries you do in front of the telly when you’re bored? This man has just been appointed British Fashion Council Ambassador. To where – the Court of Ludwig the Lunatic?
Ivan’s ill-matched ensemble contrasts with Nancy’s sheer vulgarity, a gauzy, gilded concoction complete with peekaboob and high-rise Spanx Power Panties worn with hideous Guiseppe Zanotti sandals. She has half a black labrador on her back and the other half on her head. Go figure.
WTF Regular Rose McGowan also returns this week, wearing Francesco Scognamilio and Cushnie & Ochs at a jewellery party in New York.
Bless her! Rose is never happier than when flashing the flesh and there is plenty of flesh being flashed here, particularly spilling forth from a bra patently not up to the job, like a sprat sent to catch a mackerel.
To Stockholm where we meet Princess Birgitta of Sweden (left) seen here with her sister Princess Margaretha. They were attending the wedding of their nephew Prince Carl Gustaf.
Princess Birgitta, 78, is 3 years younger than Princess Margaretha but the latter lives in England whereas the former lives in Majorca and seems to have lingered too long on the sun lounger. As a result she resembles a cross between the Ancient Mariner and Tanning Mom.
The jewels are fabulous but the pale pink pantsuit, white slingbacks, mink jacket and diamanté bag and belt are far more Basildon than Balearic and not remotely regal.
Olivier looks like a bar steward from a gay cruiseship. There is waxed moobage, his jeans are stuffed into tasselled boots (unforgivable on male and female alike) and his silly pout is a result of his (admitted) practice of sucking in his cheeks whenever photographed. Kris is showing us a great deal of stuff we do not want to see including much plastic tittage and a lot of overripe thigh, both emerging from a dress no longer than a tank top. If you want to understand the Kardashians, just look at the mother. The apple does not fall far from the tree…
This week’s It’s Got To Go comes courtesy of WTF aficionado Sally, whose monthly direct debit for gas and electricity was £109. At the end of the year, the balance was £220 which she offered to pay by credit card there and then. No, said the lady at the other end of the phone. Her direct debit must increase to £260 a month. Sally pointed out that this would credit the company £1500 which was not based on her actual usage. After 18 minutes of pointless discussion, the lady caved in, accepted £220 and continued the direct debit at £109. Sally fought back but how many people, including the elderly and less vocal, have this stunt pulled on them? And why is it allowed? It’s Got To Go.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. Keep those comments coming in, which WTF enjoys like anything, and your excellent suggestions for It’s Got to Go and let us meet again next Friday. Be good x