Racism and prejudice, whether systemic or microscopic, as a person of color in the so-called post-racial era, is to be reprimanded, in the worst case accusing of "raging" or seeing something is actually not there. When a hate crime or an incident of racial profiles becomes viral, excuses quickly follow. Maybe they should have met the police. On many pages there was a "monstrous demonstration of hatred, bigotry and violence". Just " buy a cup of coffee !" It is a ubiquitous form of gas lighting in which both trolls and public figures seek to manipulate others to believe that their own perception of the world is not grounded in reality. And it was used to de-legitimize the very real evidence that racism is still smoldering in the United States and has actually been on the upswing in recent years.
There's a particularly evil sense of irony about The Rachel Divide Laura Brownson's new documentary following the post-viral life of Rachel Dolezal debuts on Netflix on April 27. In a notorious local news story from 2015, Dolezal, whose birth parents are white, although she has made many people believe she is black for years, was confronted by reporter Jeff Humphrey with a Facebook post in which she depicts an older black gentleman "Father," Humphrey says he was interested in Dolezal after claiming that the Washington Spokane chapter of the NAACP, of which she was president at the time, had received racist hate mail. Police records obtained by Humphrey & # 39; s team showed that the Post was never processed via the postal service, casting doubt on their allegations. But that's what Humphrey says about why he made Dolezal suspicious, probably before he learned anything about it. "Rachel's complaints that she had been the victim of hate crimes made racism and the white supremacy movement make a comeback, and it was not, and because it was not, we felt compelled to challenge them." Dolezal would not be black Woman, would the local news agency have been so hungry to expose and "prove" that racism is dead?
Of course, if Dolezal had not presented herself as a black woman, she probably would not have been elected President of the Spokane NAACP Chapter and could not have made such dubious claims. But this is the paradox of Dolezal's existence in public, which is fully self-evident in The Rachel Divide . She has helped draw attention to some of the thorniest facets of how race in America plays through skillfully engineered craftsmanship.
It is devastating to see how many innocent people are being torn down by Dolezal's deception and The Rachel Divide benefits enormously from this by emphasizing their voices.
Watching The Rachel Divide makes it easy to see why Dolezal invites such an unrestricted access to her life, which has been turned upside down by the effects of viral history. She has applied for jobs in the field of race and cultural sciences but has not found any applicants. We see her 13-year-old son, Franklin (from her previous marriage to a black man) and her black adopted brother, Izaiah (whom she eventually legally adopted), asking her to wait in the car not to be noticed. And her childhood, growing up with abusive parents, as she tells it, sounds immensely sad and traumatic when you think there's something true about it. (I do, though cautiously – her adoptive siblings confirm many of her characterizations, though her parents and her biological brother deny the allegations.) Her goal is apparently that the world sees her as a sympathetic pariah struggling to support her family and hopefully open the door for lucrative career opportunities. "There is a sense of hopelessness that it will never happen again," she complains to a friend. "I'll never be able to be I. I'll never be seen as black … I'll always be seen as the forger."
Brownson's documentary, however, reaches another end by arousing sympathy for the people around her, but little for Dolezal himself. We learn that Esther, another of Rachel's black adopted siblings, is the biological son of her parent, Joshua, sexual Rachel alleged that she was abused by him, too. But the holes that provoked Rachel's credibility at the negative attention of the media to their identity made them useless as witnesses; her parents told the press that Rachel, just as she had lied about her background, lied about the abuse. A visit to Howard University with Izaiah spearheads him after she posted photos on social media and left strangers angry about his admission potential. (Dolezal visited Howard as a doctoral student and sued in vain the institution against racial discrimination – against whites.)
Heartbreaking of all is Franklin, an incredibly ingenious child, wise and tired beyond his years, barely trying to hide his mother's deep-seated embarrassment from the cameras. During the shoot, Dolezal is pregnant, and on several occasions he talks about protecting his future brother from the pain he has already suffered. He has few friends, and after giving a very disturbing interview to a daytime talk show, he asks to leave school the next day for fear that other students will annoy him. He challenges her motivation to make a documentary and write a book claiming to "resent" some of the things she said in interviews:
She can identify whatever she wants to be, because that's her business. But when it's put in the spotlight, I do not think you should annoy people even more than they already are, unless you want to get some of that in the ass. And she did not choose her words carefully. And it influenced me. It influenced my brother. The more I talk to people about it, the more it gets withdrawn from me.
It's devastating to see how many innocent people are being knocked down by Dolezal's deception and The Rachel Divide is benefiting enormously by highlighting her voices by some of the NAACP members she worked with. They rightly point out, as well as others, that while their mission was just black empowerment, their way of persecuting them was not, and that ended up being very damaging; she could have done so much more by turning out to be a white activist instead of guiding people. (One person says that their public statements too often were only concealed in "trouble" and suggests that she used her black sons as pledges in the movement.)
Throughout the documentary, however, Dolezal refuses to fully reconcile himself with the fact that she has tarnished the trust of the community in which she participates. "I hope it's just a family feud," she tells a friend. "There is this misunderstanding between some blacks and me, and we will arrange and get over it." Even when she complains that her activism has come to a standstill, she compares it to a sport: "I'm banked out of the game now, and that's hard because I feel like I could be an asset, just bring me back in Game. "I'm ready." The Sadness of The Rachel Divide is not that Dolezal can not simply return to the social activist court and lead black people to victory. Thus, the film shows the power of the white lie to destroy the colorless people in their orbit, however unknowing they may be, leaving behind emotional and political damage.