Amid all the controversy and backlash Rachel Dolezal has faced, due to her false identity as an African-American woman, some still support her actions.
Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned an essay for TIME published on Monday (June 15) titled: “Let Rachel Dolezal Be as Black as She Wants to Be.” In the piece, he went onto defend and describe his sentiments for Dolezal’s situation; expressing how he feels she’s actually helped make a difference in the black community.
“The evidence against Dolezal does seem pretty damning… Some siblings have also attested that she’s not black, though she was raised alongside four adopted black children. Dolezal herself has just stepped aside from her position at the NAACP,” wrote Abdul-Jabbar. “Despite all this, you can’t deny that Dolezal has proven herself a fierce and unrelenting champion for African-Americans politically and culturally. Perhaps some of this sensitivity comes from her adoptive black siblings. Whatever the reason, she has been fighting the fight for several years and seemingly doing a first-rate job.”
In addition to defending Dolezal, he also admits some truths about himself in regards to his not-so-tall stature.
“See, I too have been living a lie. For the past 50 years I’ve been keeping up this public charade, pretending to be something I’m not,” he wrote. “I am not tall (#shortstuff). Although I’ve been claiming to be 7’2” for many decades, the truth is that I’m 5’8”. And that’s when I first get out of bed in the morning. Just goes to show, you tell a lie often enough and people believe you.”
But while the masses are still heavily confused when it comes to Rachel Dolazel’s motives and reasoning for lying about her race for so many years, Mr.Abdul-Jabbar believes at the end of the day one’s phenotype should not play a role in one’s moral character. And he concludes by citing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who once expressed that exact same sentiment.
“So, does it really matter whether Rachel Dolezal is black or white?” he asks. “Dr. King said we should be judged by the content of character rather than color of skin.” — Richy Rosario
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