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Black for a DayWhite Fantasies of Race and Empathy$
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Alisha Gaines

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469632834

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469632834.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Epilogue

Epilogue

The Last Soul Sister

Chapter:
(p.158) Epilogue
Source:
Black for a Day
Author(s):

Alisha Gaines

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469632834.003.0006

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.

Keywords:   Rachel Dolezal, viral, authenticity, transracial, blackness

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