White, Like Me? Taking a Page From the Rachel Dolezal Playbook

Rachel Dolezal, Caitlyn Jenner, changing indentity, racial self-identification

I’ve got a story to tell. I’m a white woman in a black woman’s body. It’ll be like “Black Like Me”, but, ya’ know, about being white.

I’ve got a secret.

A deep realization burning in my heart of hearts.

I can’t hold back the truth any longer.

I’m a white woman in a black woman’s body.

It’s true. I’ve always felt white. I’ve turned up my nose at using “ebonics,” which is really destroying the use of language all over this land, much more than L33t, emojis, and text speak ever could. I enjoy listening to Michael Bublé. I drink a lot of White Russians. My next car will be a Prius. I enjoy camping, and I took one of those basic white girl tests and got a 100. Also Starbucks is my bae.

It’s not my fault. I’ve always felt a closeness to white women more so than black women. Obviously, I want to be an advocate for white women. All of their hard-earned money shouldn’t be spent supporting those welfare queens and drug addicts. I want to be the backbone of third wave feminism and without being a “black” woman, I simplify things and join the discussion that really matters. Race – well other races – just complicates things, doesn’t it?

Let’s be honest; race is just a social construct anyway. Just like money or Justin Bieber’s popularity. It’s not a real thing; it doesn’t exist. So of course you can swap it out. Trade for the one you feel the closest to. The fun thing is when you do that, you kind of get the best of both worlds. You’re able to dedicate yourself to a different kind of life, you can be immersed in a culture that embraces you for someone you pretend to be, and you don’t actually have to go through any of the negativity that you profess to have endured. Then if it’s too heavy, if it’s too much, stop bleaching or tanning. Change your hair. Boom! Back where you started. No fuss, no muss.

Reality is just there for me to mold it. Sure, I could be an advocate, an ally. I could let my white friends speak for themselves, and give them a big “thumbs up.” I could encourage them, give the support they need because it’s hard to get your words heard out there. I could let them tell their own stories and help their voices to reach the masses.

Or I could just do it myself. They can speak later. My interpretation of their experiences is way more important.

It’ll be like Black Like Me, but ya’ know…about being white.

My hair is a big ball of afro, but I’m thinking about buying a one of those wigs made out of human hair. I don’t want to straighten my own with chemicals; that can be damaging. And I want to have options later. Just in case this whole white thing doesn’t work out.

I’m going to base my life on experiences that I haven’t actually had before. The narrative of the white woman. I’ll tell “her” story. I’ve read books, I’ve been around them all my life. I’ll make speeches about the struggle of balancing PTA, work success, and the glass ceiling. I may have to invent a baby or maybe adopt so I can get in on the mommy blogger action.

If someone can be a woman trapped in a man’s body, and be heralded as a hero, can’t I be a white woman trapped in a black woman’s body? Because all social constructs are created equal, right?

I’ll be able to — no, it’ll be my job to — ignore the issues in the black community. It’ll be like when Harry Potter was sitting under the Sorting Hat and he kept thinking “Gryffindor” until the hat finally picked the house he wanted.

So I’m picking my house. White picket fences and matching skin tones.

Hopefully, when I’m walking around the store being asked if I need help for the umpteenth time I can tell them, “Don’t worry friends. I’m white, too. You can go back to ‘helping’ that minority over there.” If I see those red and blue lights flashing in my rear view mirror, my heart won’t make that involuntary jump, regardless of having committed no crime. That involuntary response will be for the birds.

It’ll be amazing. And when it gets tiring. When it’s boring. When I feel as though I’ve done enough for my new community. I can just stop. No more bleach. I’ll take off the wig. And I can just reset my race.

Author PhotoTamara Woods was raised (fairly happily) in West Virginia, where she began writing poetry at the age of 12. Her first poetry collection “The Shaping of an ‘Angry’ Black Woman” (spoiler alert- she’s not angry) is available at Amazon. She is currently the Editor of The Reverie Poetry Journal. She also maintains her poetry/fiction blog PenPaperPad in addition to writing articles as a full-time freelance writer. She is a hillbilly hermit in Honolulu living with her Mathmagician drinking coffee and reading comics. Tamara has been featured in Tipsy Lit, In the Powder Room, The Reverie Journal, Poem in Your Pocket (Hawaii Edition). You can alaso find Tamara on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Image via depositphotos

  • I’m thinking of Godfrey Cambridge’s “Watermellon Man”–where he wakes up one morning and is white. A real classic from the 60s!

    • I’ll have to look that up Tish, I haven’t watched it.

      • Check out Putney Swope too, which it billed as “a dark satire which the token black man on the executive board of an advertising firm is accidentally put in charge…” It was considered terribly subversive by the status quo in 1969. There are some amazingly scathing looks at race in a number of 60’s films.

  • Tracy Gorgeous

    Excellent post – and you even managed an HP reference. Which makes it doubly excellent. 🙂

  • Nikki Polen

    Honestly, I think everyone’s heart stops when the cops are behind them. I know mine does.

  • Good one!

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