“Help! I’ve Been Caught Dolezal’ing!” 3 Dos and Don’ts

First, for the record, I said as soon as I met Jess Krug, “Yo, that girl white”, but no one believed me. I could tell right away she was perpetrating as light-skinned, Afro-Latina. Maybe it’s because part of my family on my mother’s side is white or I spent too much time as a kid in predominantly white schools, but my Spidey-sense (aka whitey-sense) instantly went off every time I saw, talk to, or was in close proximity to Krug. The mask was so easy to spot. It was simple, 1) bottle of black hair dye, 2) bronzer, 3) a white interpretation of a Latina costume (basically tight-ass clothes), 4) a forced Boricua accent.

Her charade has hurt several real women of color close to me, so I am writing this 3 step list of “dos” and “don’ts” for future Dolezal’s and Krug’s who happen to get unmasked.

After you get unmasked:

1) Be Humble

Do: Call all of your friends, colleagues, associates of color you used to sell your lie to the world and reveal yourself, explain yourself, and apologize….but, don’t ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is theirs to offer, but something you are not entitled to. These are real people who cared about you as a person, colleague, and/or friend. You used them and that’s not okay.

Don’t: Pen a public statement conveniently omitting a critical detail to your confession. You were caught and needed to get ahead of someone else outing you. You had no exit plan from the false identity if not met with the misfortune of being revealed.

2) Pay Reparations

Do: Take it on the chin and in the wallet. Pay back all of the grant monies, scholarships, and courtesies extended to you while you were playing the role of a person of color. You stole opportunities from real people of color who deserved them.

Don’t: Blame it on your mental illness, unless you truly have a multiple personality disorder and one of your personalities is Duane or Shakita. Otherwise, you knew what you were doing, why you did it, and understood how you benefitted from your charade as a person of color.

3) Be white

Do: Reassume your white identity. Stop continuing trying to be <insert chosen racial identity>. Even though you may not fully understand, you’ve already done enough damage as a white infiltrator among that race. So, just stop it.

Don’t: Change jobs, cities, names and continue with the same b.s. Don’t look for new friends of color to replace the ones who have rightfully left you. Don’t continue wearing your costume (accents, bronzers, hairstyles, stereotypical dress). And, by golly, DO NOT, under any circumstances, date, marry, or have children with a member of the race you just burned…just no, don’t do it.

If you’ve read through this list, but haven’t yet been unmasked yet, these steps still apply….and, bonus, you don’t have to wait to be unmasked, you can do these things right now! What you are doing is not okay and further the oppression of an already oppressed racial group.

If you read this and are a bit confused if you may be “Dolezal’ing”, take a moment to answer the questions below.

Q1) Are your biological parents white?

Q2) Are your biological siblings white?

Q3) Do you fail to correct others when they assume you are a person of color because it may somehow benefit you?

Q4) Do you check the “other” race box on applications and refuse to identify your race because you can pass as a light-skinned Black or Latinx person?

Q5) Do you claim an “of color” identity because you are married to or have children of color?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you are definitely Dolezal’ing. Please seek help, follow the 3 steps above, and stop it.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

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Dr. Tracey A. Benson

Dr. Tracey A. Benson

Anti-Racist Education Leadership Consultant & Founder of Tracey A. Benson Constulting