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Dolezal showed lack of honesty and integrity

Rachel Dolezal. Photo courtesy of

Rachel Dolezal. Photo courtesy of

Former Spokane, Wash. NAACP President Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who passed as black, has damaged the African American community she pledged to serve, former NASW President Gary Bailey said in a recent Huffington Post column.

“The issue at hand is that a white person who is pretending to be black, and is running a branch of the NAACP is indeed the problem,” Bailey wrote. “Of more concern is Ms. Dolezal’s lack of honesty and integrity, and the collateral damage she has done to the community she claims to want to be a part of.”

And although Dolezal had sympathy and compassion for the black community, Bailey said she would never have suffered the indignity experienced by black teenager Dajerria Becton, who was violently arrested by a white police officer at at McKinney, Texas pool party.

“No way, no how. And that is the major difference between a truly lived experience and the co-option of a people’s experience,” Bailey, MSW, ACSW, said.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW)  is committed to equal treatment for all, including people of color. To learn more visit NASW’s Diversity and Equity website.

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  1. I see it as self-identification. Nothing more and I feel it is her right to self-identify.

  2. OK, I’ve been pondering this all for the past week and I do understand the concern and disappointment over this individual’s persistent and sustained pattern of dishonesty. But let’s take a step back for a moment. I’d like to propose a different take on ALL THE PUBLICITY around this situation:

    Yes, she has provoked scorn and discomfort. But damage? Look, Ms. Dolezal would fit just about everyone’s (and particularly the FOX news) definition of “A LIBERAL.” (!!!!!!!) And even better, a white female liberal who associates with black people and apparently lies about EVERYTHING. Oh Ouch.

    So, what a perfectly vile target she makes. And for some out there, it’s all the better because it is (finally!) their best and most compelling evidence that liberals and colored people ALL LIE!!!!! (Heck, CNN and MSNBC have offered us hours of investigative coverage of this isolated incident from Washington state and there isn’t even blood on the sidewalk!)

    But let’s not conflate our disappointment and discomfort into real pain and suffering.
    The attacks and threats have long been out there: and this situation hasn’t really provoked anything new. Just, uncomfortable attention. People that want to hate, will find what they need to feed that hate. This is the latest frenzy.

    If we want to focus on lies, let’s also consider the 40 something white guy with no military background beyond what he’s seen on the big screen or played on the computer, who dons the spit shined shoes and flawlessly pressed Marine blues he purchased on-line, with ribbons for the Purple Heart (with 3 clusters), the Silver Star ( with V device) the Navy Cross, and ribbons for service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Vietnam. Yes this is against the federal (Stolen Valor) law, but it hardly makes the local evening news when he is outed by the local VFW.

    Or more pointedly, what about the squad of “open carry” white guys loitering in the park across from city hall, the local shopping center, or Mosque, each wearing black or pixilated camouflage, scuffed desert boots, a full assortment of WEB gear, ammo pouches, K-Bar or Gerber combat knives, holstered Glocks or Beretta’s, boonie caps, and the creme de la creme: AR-15 “Bushmasters” or (curiously) “Chi-Com” AK-47s, TRYING to look every bit the part of REAL soldiers on patrol along some ridge above the Korengal Valley. (Or consultants for the popular movies “Lone survivor” or “Sniper.”) “Look at us: we’re here to defend our constitutional rats.” How many lies and deceptions are they engaging in as a group? (A well regulated militia indeed.)

    Or the stark white millionaire televangelist with his wide collar and narrow mind, preaching GODS LOVE AND COMPASSION along with his convincing vile contempt for those certainly bestial pedophile gays who should dare to threaten the sanctity of his (fifth) marriage and those blood thirsty terroristic Muslim’s kneeing in conspiracy on their filthy prayer rugs. (All these examples manifest by young white men walking , armed, into schools, churches, community centers, and theaters, intent on leveling some fanciful playing field.)

    See, this is no longer an attack on one woman. It has become an attack on everything she may possibly represent. So, look around. And let’s just put down the stones, OK?
    Gary Bachman

  3. As a current student in social welfare at the University of Kansas it saddens me that a former president of such a prestigious organization could rush to judgement and be so insensitive toward another human being. First of all it is not so much what we “don’t” know about Rachel Dolezal’s motivation for her presentation as an African-American as much as it is what we “do” know about the character of this great woman and the extent of her service and sacrifice for African-Americans. I am also taking minors in Psychology as well as African and African-American Studies, what my education prompts me to consider is where she has gone right as opposed to where “I think” she may have gone wrong; this concept is foundation of Strengths Base Social Work.

    We know, for instance, that she has committed a very substantial portion of her life to educate and advocate for African-Americans. We know that her children are multi-racial and, if we stop to consider, we also know that the racial group that she doesn’t want to be identified with maintains a history of oppressive and even murderous acts against African-Americans and other minority groups. One could conclude that it is a no-brainer that she would shun such a group but the truth of the matter is that we DO NOT know her particular reasons for the course that she choose. For example, what if she has some mental health challenges that she either needs to address or is currently in the process of addressing with another caring professional?

    If Ms. Dolezal does have the above mentioned challenges, how insensitive and damaging might the remarks of such a prominent figure against her increase her burden? And how Ridiculous and unprofessional is it for a Social Worker to do such a thing? Myself, I am a black man and, even if her action were not motivated from what “I” perceive to be a right course, the fact is that is issue is not about me anyway it is about a human being called Rachel. Further I can’t help but think that Mr. Bailey’s comment suggest some racist or at least prejudice sentiment toward another human; I’m just not understanding how a Social Worker could be so callous and unthoughtful.

    As for me, I admire Ms. Dolezal’s work, her commitment to serve, and the quality of the character that she has shown to us all over her life-time. Thank you Ms. Dolezal for a fine and positive example of a human heart.

  4. I totally agree with Desi Coleman’s comment. When Bruce Jenner comes out as Kaitlen, Bruce/Kaitlyn is called a hero and is put on the cover of a magazine. If Bruce/Kaitlyn
    Caitlyn instead would have been”outed”, would there have been as much of a firestorm as Rachel’s outing has aused. I highly doubt it.The core difference I see is that Bruce”Caitlin was a jock that came out, while if Rachel would have admitted she was not African American, I an assure you she would not have been called a hero nd put on the cover of a magazine. In my value system, I wish we had many more Rachels
    Bruce/Kaitlyns. Just to be clear, I want more Rachel’s not because I think
    Bruce/Kaitlyn should not have come out, but for what I have read about Rachel and Bruce/Kaitlyn, I think Rachel has served society more then Bruce/Kaitlyn.I understand that Bruce/Kaitlyn has become a role model, but I think what Rachel has done I see her as a role model. Bruce/Kaitlyn received accolades,while Rachel is now limited in pursuing her work.

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