Nationwide — Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has weighed in on the bizarre story of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who pretended to be Black to become president of a local NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington. Abdul-Jabbar recently wrote a column for Time magazine entitled “Let Rachel Dolezal Be as Black as She Wants to Be.”
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. Not only has she led her local chapter of the NAACP, she teaches classes related to African-American culture at Eastern Washington University and is chairwoman of a police oversight committee monitoring fairness in police activities. Bottom line: The black community is better off because of her efforts.
So, does it really matter whether Rachel Dolezal is black or white? Dr. King said we should be judged by the content of character rather than color of skin, which is what makes this case so difficult. So, yes, it does matter. Apparently lying to employers and the public you’re representing when the lie benefits you personally and professionally is a deficit in character. However, the fight for equality is too important to all Americans to lose someone as passionate as she is and who has accomplished as much as she has.
But Abdul-Jabbar is not the only one coming to Dolezal’s defense. Other include Keri Hilson and Melissa Harris-Perry, who have both faced backlash after they too argued that it doesn’t really matter what her color is. Harris-Perry asked if she could perhaps be “trans-black” (identifying with a race she was not born into), and Hilson tweeted that Dolezal should be thanked because “she’s doing more than most of us do for ourselves.”
Just like Abdul-Jabbar, they question if it is really such a bad thing when a person chooses to identify with a racial group she was not born into.
To read Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s full column, visit: