“Black Like Me” — that’s the title of a 1961 book by a white man named John Howard Griffin, who used makeup and a very dark tan to look black for six weeks in the segregated South.
The lesson of the book was that it was difficult being black. Blacks were discriminated against. No sensible white person would pretend to be black.
Things have changed.
It was recently reported that Rachel Dolezal, a darkish-skinned woman with frizzy hair, pretended to be black for the past decade. She didn’t suffer racial discrimination. In fact, she enjoyed racial favoritism. Her fake “blackness” got her a job with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a professorship in African studies and a city job as an ombudsman.
Her parents finally outed her, stating that her ancestry is actually German and Czech. Childhood photos show a freckle-faced, pale girl with blond hair.
Blondes may have more fun, but blackness, she discovered, is a ticket to a prize in the affirmative-action game. Continue reading