#HowItFeelsToBeABlackGirl Tackles Racism, Sexism

Black women on Twitter reclaim post-Rachel Dolezal discourse

NAACP member Kitara McClure cries during a protest. — REUTERS
Jun 18, 2015 at 3:26 PM ET

On the heels of broader hashtag responses to the Rachel Dolezal scandal, such as #actualblack, last night African-American women flooded Twitter with personal stories and reflections on the dual discrimination they face as minority women. The hashtag #HowItFeelsToBeABlackGirl was tweeted over 21,000 times in the past 24 hours. The hashtag has also spread to other social media platforms, including Instagram and Tumblr.

The hashtag was inspired by a YouTube web series, which the creator Jada Mosely hopes will become a networking tool for African American women, similar to the way #youoksis connects people fighting against street harassment.

Mosely has strong feelings about growing up black, and she said at one point she tried to bleach her own skin. The idea of a white woman trying to inhabit her identity infuriates her.

“The mentality that I had was nothing but self hate,” Mosely says. “And now a white woman wants to identify as a black woman, and it’s justified?”

Mosely says she was inspired to create the hashtag by an LGBT documentary in her psychology class. She felt enlightened by the stories of the people who shared their personal struggles as part of the LGBT community and thought she should do something similar for African American women who struggled with their personal identities.

Comparing Dolezal’s lies about being an African American woman to being transgender makes Mosely uncomfortable, she says, because the term “transracial” simply doesn’t exist in her opinion. “You cannot get a perm and a few bad spray tans and call yourself a black woman,” Moseley wrote to Vocativ in an email.

Dolezal dominated headlines all week after her parents outed her and revealed that she has German, Czech and Native American roots, and not African-American like she claims. The former NAACP leader in Spokane, Washington, went on record and said on the Today show this week that she identifies as black.



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