Ali Michael, a writer for the Huffington Post, sometimes wishes she wasn’t white. And she decided in her 20s that she would not “have biological children because I didn’t want to propagate my privilege biologically.”
In an article titled, “I Sometimes Don’t Want to Be White Either,” Ms. Michael details her feelings on being white and the Rachel Dolezal story.
Ms. Michael writes of Dolezal, “She is stuck in the immersion/emersion stage, in which White people, having learned extensively about the realities of racism, and the ugly history of White supremacy in the U.S., “immerse” themselves in trying to figure out how to be White in our society, and “emerge” with a new relationship to Whiteness.”
She concludes, “her way of dealing with the pain of the reality of racism, was to deny her own Whiteness and to become Black.”
Ms. Michael notes that Dolezal is not alone, however. In fact, she went through it herself and identifies with Dolezal.
“I definitely experienced this,” she explains. “There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors… and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn’t have biological children because I didn’t want to propagate my privilege biologically.”
“If I was going to pass on my privilege, I wanted to pass it on to someone who doesn’t have racial privilege; so I planned to adopt. I disliked my Whiteness, but I disliked the Whiteness of other White people more,” she writes.
“I felt like the way to really end racism was to feel guilty for it, and to make other White people feel guilty for it too,” she continued. “And then, like Dolezal, I wanted to take on Africanness. Living in South Africa during my junior year abroad, I lived with a Black family, wore my hair in head wraps, shaved my head.” I didn’t want to be White, but if I had to be, I wanted to be White in a way that was different from other White people I knew.
“I wanted to be a special, different White person. The one and only. How very White of me,” she adds.
She then talks about the “pain of being White,” writing, “But the lesson for me is remembering how deep the pain is, the pain of realizing I’m White, and that I and my ancestors are responsible for the incredible racialized mess we find ourselves in today. The pain of facing that honestly is blinding. It’s not worse than being on the receiving end of that oppression.”
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