Dear Rachel

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Dear Rachel,

I know you don’t know me, and everyone’s got an opinion, but allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Brandy and I’m a white woman who loves black people.  I mean really loves black people, like Tom Cruise’s character shouts in Jerry Maguire “I LOOOOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!!”  I love black people so much that I’ve never pretended to be one.  Love and admiration, are first and foremost, respectful.  And while some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, flattery is still, at its essence, fake, vain, and self-serving.

Let me tell you a bit more about who I am, because that’s one thing I do know, Dear Rachel, is Who. I. Am.  I was raised, my entire life, in a predominantly black, middle-class neighborhood.  I was typically one of only four or five white kids in my class.  I lived next door to, played with, and was nurtured by black people.  I was baptized at the age of thirteen in a screamin’, shoutin’, sanctified Missionary Baptist Church.  I was partially raised and taught “home training” and how not to be “trifling” by a black woman with a Master’s Degree in Special Education who was quick to tell you that she was a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta. Unlike your seemingly fake racial “hate crimes,”I actually was witness to a cross burning in my family’s front yard.  I have been called “nigger lover” by white men for simply being in a parked car at a gas station with a black, male study partner.  I studied at Tennessee State University, an HBCU.  I have a biracial son.  I have, aside from two short- lived, went nowhere, felt nothing relationships, dated and fallen for, only black men.  My list of things that make me more culturally aware than the average white person goes on and on. I feel blessed and fortunate to have had this as my experience and thankful to God for placing me in that environment to grow up with an open mind.  So, trust me, if anyone understands a white person’s love for black people and culture, it’s me.  I have often thought that many of our society’s racial ills could be solved by dropping white kids off in black neighborhoods for a few months. I’m only half-way joking, by the way.  So many people, on both sides of the race coin, never take real time and vested interest to get to know anyone on the opposite side of the coin as themselves.  I am a firm believer in the goodness in all people, even you.

I hope that this blog post finds you.  I hope it resonates with you.  This is the blog where I’m supposed to be writing about MY journey to my truest, best self, but I hope it helps you find that for YOU.  If you truly love black people, and respect black women, you will stop impersonating them and identifying yourself as one of them.  That is one thing, in all my life that I’ve never done.  I’ve never said that I was anything other than white.  It never even crossed my mind to say that I was black.  I will tell you that, back in the day, I imitated a couple of black hairstyles; I had a curly perm that was cut in an asymmetrical style (you couldn’t tell me nothin’), I had a curly perm that I would sometimes leave wet so people would think it was a jheri curl.  I remember getting on the bus once and feeling myself when I heard someone exclaim “Ooh, she got a fye curl!” (Yes, THAT really happened LOL) And once, when I was NINE, I got cornrows with clear and purple beads on them and I would shake my head to the right and left while I rode my bike just to hear them click-clack.  I used to watch my friend’s mom grease her head, so I used to take my blonde baby dolls, part their hair, and squirt lotion on their plastic scalps.  Rachel, I was a kid.  I was imitating what I saw and what I DID TRULY identify with.  You, not so much.  You grew up in Colorado and admitted that you were born in the woods.  How many black people did you really see in the woods of Colorado, for real though???  How could you POSSIBLY have drawn yourself with a brown crayon and identified with that?  What did you know about black culture that you didn’t read in a text book?

You have told so many lies, Dear Rachel, that you aren’t making a good name for yourself.  Are you trying to portray the black woman, since that’s what you say you are, as a liar?  Way to go!  Way to sway people to the black cause!!!  If this is the example you’re trying to set for society as a black woman, go back to the drawing board, and as a matter of fact, go back and draw yourself as “white Rachel.”  Make a difference, first in yourself, by telling the truth in ALL things!  The truth shall set you free, girl!  Back away from the bronzer and take out the curly weave and do you!  You are too smart to be so conniving, too important in your own right to be a fake anyone else. You could do so much good, more than you’ve already done in your work, but right now, no one can take you seriously. You have told lies on top of lies, stories on top of stories.  Do you think if you keep telling them, that we’ll eventually believe them? Or that, like Pinnochio became a real boy, you’ll eventually really be black?  No ma’am. It doesn’t work like that. You may have some success in the short term (I hear you’re shopping a reality show), but in the end, you will be remembered as a con-artist who very likely has a mental disorder.

In closing, Dear Rachel, if you respect black culture, and in particular, black women, stop pretending to be one.  It is not ok.  On behalf of white people who really have grown up in an African-American environment, I’m going to take a stand right now and say “Bye, Rachel. Quit Playin. You play too much.”  Seriously though…it’s not funny and enough is enough.  You cannot steal someone’s identity and call it your own.  Just like a leopard can’t change its spots, you can’t change the skin you’re in, and the skin you’re in happens to be white, no matter how much you run from it.

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