Dolezal Affectation and other sci-fi poetics from Rachel

We are piles of secrets
We construct truths to survive
Now we are all looking at yours

At first glance
We are appalled
How does this disgust feel to you?

It is a black thing.

***
Scenario 1:

RD: My cover is blown. This family ain’t loyal.
White Supremacist Overlord: Well. I told you the knee length faux locs were pushing it.
RD: Naw son…it was my family. We should have relocated them. Anyway, all eyes on me, and I wasn’t able to seduce anyone at NAACP national yet. What do I do now?
WSO: We’re going to reassign you to South Africa. Maybe go colored instead of full black. We don’t want to lose the investment in you. The weave alone, my god.

Race is a construct
Criminal walls and nails
Used to justify
Miniscule and massive horrifics

Are you in construction?
Are you an architect?
Are your hands coated in dust?

Scenario 2:

RD Howard Diaries:
I’m feeling so isolated again, so lonely. I wish everyone could see my heart. I feel like I was born in the wrong skin, but nothing I do shakes me loose.

Black is magic. Black is where I feel home. Black is my real family.

We are all from Africa, this is my journey home. Why can’t anyone see that? Why doesn’t anyone welcome me?

Did you think
You could taste blackness
Could transform blackness
Cast it lightly around you
And be safe?

Are you of blackness?

Black centuries are heavy
Dragging behind, they put a shape
Into the bones

Does it trail behind and inside of you?
I have only seen you walk away

Scenario 3:

2035

Blackish Students Organizing Hall
Dolezal Affectation Orientation

‘Welcome.

Based on your emogenetic profile, you currently believe you are Black in spite of your DNA testing which shows less than 1% African lineage.

Look at each other. This is your first day, and first assignment. Not one of you has modern African diasporic ancestry, though it’s hard to tell now, given your thorough practice of Black culture.

You may just be coming into your Dolezal Affectation, or you may have been raised in an environment that supported or encouraged this transgression earlier in life. Either way, this will be your political home for the next year. You are not a prisoner precisely – you are a student who has been consigned to this area of study on the mandatory recommendation of your friends and family.

We have therapists on hand for any potential trauma this causes. In the long run we hope to eliminate your unique affliction and all the trauma in which it is rooted.

You are welcome to be here and study Blackness, and to explore your own relationship to it. We commend your curiosity and your study.

However, there are guidelines. This is not a place to emulate or appropriate Blackness – I’m more lenient about hair than other decolonizing instructors. But no Black or Orange face, and no code switching.

Tomorrow you are to show up with none of these, so we can begin the work of self-seeing. You will learn to love you.

You are here to find right relationship with the construct of Blackishness, an iterative construction of your ancestors which was then innovated upon by survivors of the slave era genocidal effort.

You will learn why trauma is not something to opt into, and ultimately what solidarity looks like.

Ready?

Did whiteness break you in half?
Or did you need to drop it
Like a hot stone the size of 2/5 of your hand?

Did it regress you to origin?

Do white people dream of the motherland
Epoch-deep in the cells?

I never considered origin-grief.
It cannot be held.

Scenario 4:

RD: My cover is blown
Reverse Integrationist Radical Front: Well yes honey, going full NAACP might have been pushing it, boo boo.
RD: What should I do?
RIRF: we’re considering if you’ll have to go public about us. This might be a good time for a mass unveiling, or at least for a few of the celebrities. White people will feel under attack otherwise – and really this is about loving them.
RD: ‘loving white into blackish, eradicating white supremacy one life choice at a time’
RIRF: how long will it take the latest treatment to wear off?
RD: one more week
RIRF: ok radio silent. and stay in the house. When you emerge, you’re Rockwell white. You’re grieving that integrated life. We’ll get Diane Sawyer.

People ask you questions
Maybe you know these things

I don’t even know all the answers
I grew up away from here
With a white mother

You study us, or nah?

#askrachel

Harriet Tubman was a) a dreamer b) a superhero c) a black woman

Rekia Boyd was a) incredibly young b) a martyr c) a black woman

I am a) light skinned b) fine haired c) a black woman

You are a) a white perpetrator b) a betrayed black woman c) an alien beyond our comprehension

I am not black because of a quiz
Or a sibling
Or a longing
It’s shaped in my bones
Memories live in my cells
Escape dreams and owner searches

Scenario 5:

RD, journal June 9 2015

Now she is threatening me. She says if I don’t concede the case she will go public with the story that I am white, the story she constructed by bringing her white saviour into the hospital of my birth.

I know the truth, I know who my father is, I know who I am, I know the family has all been turned against me, but I will survive this like a strong black woman always survives in the face of oppression – head held high, dignity intact. She will not break me with her time traveling shame. I’ll pass any test of blackness. Any test.

If you have been wearing culture
Like a masters degree
An earned identity
A reward for study and attention

Or

If you’ve been maligned
In an act of complex familial scandal
Even misled

Or

If you are an alien
Finger outstretched to understand
The wounds of race in our species

You know
we’ll need to see your blood

1 Response to “Dolezal Affectation and other sci-fi poetics from Rachel”


  1. 1 ide

    Poetics …and the best speculative realism!

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