The Last Soul Sister
This Epilogue considers the curious case of Rachel Dolezal, a born white woman publically outed for passing for black in 2015. The story quickly went viral and ignited a controversial debate around race, authenticity, identity, and what some wrongly call “transracial.” Unlike the previous impersonators discussed in this book, Dolezal is singular in her defiant, fake blackness. Ultimately, the Epilogue argues that Dolezal continues to exercise the privilege of her assumed, American birthright—to define and redefine herself, Gatsby-style. It is an exercise poking holes in the conclusion to this book’s Introduction, the assumption that “once you go black, you go back.” Instead, Dolezal reminds how blackness can be seductive, provocatively indexing a rather wonderful idea about blackness and authentic black embodiment. This Epilogue argues that, even in its vulnerability, pain, and suffering, blackness is an identity worth performing and pursuing. In a strange way, born white Dolezal’s stubbornly insistent blackness confirms the importance and value of “real” black lives.
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