Mediander CultureTalk: Rachel Dolezal


At first glance, the Rachel Dolezal story seems like something out of The Onion, the satirical newspaper that once ran the headline “Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried as Black Adult.” In other words, fake. But while outlandish, Dolezal’s story is no spoof, and her actions have provoked a lot of disdain and hurt feelings. They range from embarrassment and betrayal to questioning her mental state.

The African American community, often perceived as engaging in groupthink, is pretty much split on this issue. Did Dolezal assimilate to the culture she appears to have such an interest in, or did she misappropriate it? Has she added to the controversial blackface narrative? I sat down with a diverse and funny group of people to try and answer these questions. We talked about the black experience in America, Michael Jackson and his kids, hair, Halle Berry and Iggy Azalea. Oh, and Caitlyn Jenner came up a few times too.

Who’s in the video?

Clarissa Cummings is the founder of urbanational, a social justice initiative dedicated to building collaborations between the U.S. and South Africa.

Kaethe Fine is a playwright and Creative Director at Mediander.

Tom Kelly is a stand-up and web-based comedian best known for his segments on The View.

Kenan Weaver is a laid-back, inquisitive comedian based in New York City.

Photo courtesy of clarkarrington/Flickr