You cannot go anywhere without this being a top story being discussed on so many levels: academic world, the black community, the white community, social workers, psychotherapists, and the general public to name a few. The larger question in peoples’ minds is “why”?

I was watching The Social and the story had just broken and the tweets were going crazy. I found it interesting the different views held. One in particular was Tracy’s view. Understand that Tracy is black and of all the hosts she is the one who may have been the most critical. What surprised me was the position she took. She didn’t support the lying. What she did say was that we cannot discount the great impact this woman brought to the black community through her academic teaching and civil rights leadership. She was a voice for change. As the former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington, she wanted to make a difference.

In a defiant interview on The Today show Dolezal said: “I identify as black.”

The other hosts were not as convinced. The problem for one is that when she spoke to groups of men, women and children, she would share “her story of suffering” which was not true. She lied.

In the National Post article, Rachel Dolezal’s fall from grace, written by Robyn Urback, she writes, “In a culture that fetishizes victimhood, it makes some sense that she thought her voice would only be heard if she pretended to be black.”

What is interesting is how the story broke – her estranged parents claimed their daughter was pretending to be black. Timing? Why now? Why after all these years? The parents say she is white with a trace of Native American heritage. Urback states, “It could be that Dolezal was sucked into a culture ubiquitous in activist circles and on university campuses. These groups speak the language of colonization, privilege, discrimination and so forth, wherein the only voices considered to have any credibility are those that have been traditionally oppressed. No one would much care what blond Rachel Dolezal, a privileged white woman from Montana, had to say about civil rights, but they absolutely cared what Rachel Dolezal, a black woman who said she was born in a teepee, had to say. This notion doesn’t excuse Dolezal’s years of apparent deceit, but it does explain her actions.”

So where do you stand on this? Can you forgive a woman who lied to make a difference? Or do you crucify her? The two things that do bother me is that she apparently lied about the hate mail and that she orchestrated it. Her parents claim that she also orchestrated the allegations against her brother Joshua on sexual assault in order to gain custody of her adopted brother, who she has since passed off as her son.

Her legacy will now be remembered as an incredible fraud instead of the civil rights leader she aspired to be.

What questions do we need to ask ourselves as humans? While I don’t agree or support the lying, I ask myself, could a white, privileged young woman from Montana have the same impact as she did when everyone thought she was black?

As an agent of change for the work I do on Gen Y engagement and empowerment and how to set up our companies for future leadership, I face people and companies that look at me and think what do I know? Or what can I offer? I say, a lot. Slowly I am making a difference. Reading a story like Rachel Dolezal I wonder does it take being extreme so people take notice.

I realize there is more to this story and the Dolezal family history.

There is much food for thought here. This is not as simple as one might think.

I leave this to your own evaluation.

What I can tell you I believe in speaking and being in truth so I will continue to make change, slow and steady, by being true to me and walking my talk.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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