Late last week, the story broke in the mainstream media of Rachel Dolezal, who has since resigned as president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP after her parents claimed that she had been misleading those around her for years by misrepresenting her race.
The Guardian reports that Dolezal is in a legal battle with her estranged birth parents, and has continued, since their claims were made public, to defend her self-identification and representation in television interviews:
Dolezal disputed accusations that she had deceived people about her identity, saying that the issue was “a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of are you black or white”…
Dolezal later appeared on MSNBC, where she was asked whether she was “a con artist”.
“I don’t think so,” she replied. “I don’t think anything that I have done with regards to the movement, my work, my life and my identity. It’s all been very thoughtful and careful.”
Yesterday, the Rev. T. Denise Anderson offered a blog in the RevGalBlogPals “The Pastoral is Political” section, reflecting as a black woman offended, confused, and hurt by this other woman’s actions, and as a Christian pastor .
But good grief, if anyone needed a pastor/caregiver/spiritual director/therapist/all of the above, it’s this soul right here.
And so, how do you pastor this person? More specifically, I wonder how I would pastor this person.
To be honest, I don’t feel the need to extend the proverbial olive branch/hand of fellowship and reconciliation to someone who participates in violence against people like me (creating and putting on a caricature of what I am for one’s own personal gain is violent — and sick). But as a pastor, I can’t ignore the hurt. I could, but I don’t want to. I guess we pastors are wired that way. Or maybe part of me begs to understand why.
Read the whole of her thoughtful and thought-provoking blog entry here. What is your pastoral perspective on this complicated and confounding story?
Photo: Rachel Dolezal via FaceBook. Posted by Rosalind Hughes