Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 29th 2015 Contents A37
Monday, June 29, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
One unanswered question
lingers, like last night s undigested
lumpy corn pie---would poser
Rachel Dolezal have been able to
fool us in Trinidad?
The woman pulled off a huge
lifetime hoax by pretending to be
black, and, though she was in the
public eye as president of the
Spokane, Washington chapter of
the National Association for the
Advancement of Coloured People,
nobody suspected she was born
blonde and Caucasian. It took her
own parents to out her---before her
little dollhouse of lies came crum-
Trinidad is a small place where
minding other people s business is
an art form. Former classmates,
neighbours, old enemies, her god-
mother, and the maco in the corner
house would have remembered her
little blonde self and exposed her
a long time ago.
Rachel could have become what-
ever shade or culture she wanted
in Trinidad, but she would have
had to do so openly as her real self,
instead of as some bizarre play-
But let s say Rachel was a new-
comer to Trinidad and there were
no well-informed grannies from
Cedros to Chaguanas in possession
of her files. Would she still have
been able to fool us?
Rachel wore a weave which she
attached and groomed herself,
because, as every woman knows,
you have no secrets from your hair-
dresser. She tanned herself to
bronze and told everyone she was
biracial, showing pictures of a black
man and saying that was her father.
As far as the weave goes, Trini
women would have unglued her in
a minute. (Men, on the other hand,
are so much more gullible.) We
ladies know one when we see one.
No matter how expensive those
Brazilian manes or how tiny the
tracks attached to our resilient
scalps, we can know the difference
between hair we grow and hair we
buy in a plastic packet.
One other reason Rachel would
have had trouble escaping the Trini
dragnet: we have a special radar
and infrared ethnic eyes capable
of detecting DNA as far back as
the ancestors who made the first
upright crawl out of the cave.
You know what VS Naipaul, so
fluent in sarcasm and accurate in
said---Trinidadians have a great eye
for different shades of blackness.
We know all about whites and off
whites, about half-this and quar-
ter-that. We know the shabine, the
browning, the red, the Spanish,
the Indianish, and, when all other
descriptions fail, the "callaloo".
We are the giants of the hyphen-
ated ancestry. Remember the last
population census? Woe betide the
poor fools who thought they could
get away with describing them-
selves as "mixed." "What kind of
mixed?" came the question and a
printed list was thrust in one s face,
bearing a number of permutations
that defied genealogists. But were
we daunted? Oh no, Trinis are
experts in the game of ethnic musi-
Poor Rachel would not have
stood a chance. We would have
welcomed her, taken her on a few
curry duck limes, dosed her with
some good pelau and chicken foot
souse, and laughed at her jokes.
But take her seriously? Ha!
Instead of playing herself in
Trinidad, Rachel opted to pull one
off on the American public. The
only woman more internationally
vilified in recent times is Cersei
Lannister, the shorn and stripped
Queen of Westeros (Game of
Thrones). Rachel Dolzeal was self-
stripped of her NAACP title but
instead of a walk of shame, she
had a week of fame.
She became a hot topic for
comics and talk-show hosts. Maya
Rudolph (from Bridesmaids) imper-
sonated Rachel on Late Night with
Seth Meyers, nailing Rachel s
glazed-eye "I don t understand the
question" reaction to reporters
questions on her parentage.
Whoopi Goldberg remarked that
people can identify as whatever
they feel, which was followed by
Andrea Tantaros of Fox News
retorting, "I identify as a cat. Do
I still have to pay taxes?
On The View, guest co-host
Michelle Collins told fellow pan-
elists, "If I would have known I
could go black, think about how
thin I would look black. An imme-
diate 15 pounds off."
A theologian tweeted, "Only a
white person could get this much
attention for being black.
Here s the thing, skin colour and
parentage should not prevent any-
one from filling a leadership role
in any organisation.
Rachel can adopt whatever cul-
ture she likes. But she lied so much
that she cannot be trusted to lead
anything or anybody. And her
appearance on television was scary.
Among the nuggets of nonsense,
she has no biological proof her par-
ents are her parents but she is not
necessarily saying she can prove
they are not.
This woman either sewed her
weave on too tight or she has seri-
ous mental health problems. My
friend Elle calls her Rachel the
Runner because she has got to be
running from something really bent
and out of whack in her past.
Maybe Americans should feel some
concern for her. Or is she just yes-
terday s shady joke?
Rachel the Runner
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