May 27, 2024
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May 27, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Everyone wears a mask. I am not talking about those mud masks or fat-sucking face masks. Though I have never experienced the joys of having a facial (because, frankly, that stuff creeps me out) I can imagine that there are other types of masks that could be confused for the one I speak of. I am referring to the one we put on every day before we leave the house. There are very few people that you meet that are genuinely who they portray themselves to be. The older we get, the more we learn that people are, to put it as politely as possible, cuckoo. We are one way at our jobs, another way to our kids, another way to our spouses, to our friends and then there is the person that we really are. Introverted, obnoxious, insecure, depressed—whatever those characteristics are that we don’t want others to see, we try our best to cover them up. Some do it with humor, some do it by always having to be surrounded by people for reassurance and, others even do this by shutting people out or speaking about them behind their backs and alienating them. Oh wait, this is supposed to be funny. When life imitates art and the movie Soul Man becomes a form of reality. Let us discuss.

Who is Rachel Dolezal? If you have had the time to catch the news in the past few weeks, we have discovered that this woman has been running quite the scam. Yet, she isn’t stealing anything from anyone, she is just, well, sort of a fraud—but a fraud with good intentions. She has been working as president of the NAACP Spokane, Washington chapter, quite the noble occupation. But is she a white person in racist blackface? Is she a black person who used to be white? Is she a carrier of multiple personality disorder? Has she been filming her experience for the past many years in order to beat out Boyhood in the Oscar race? (Boyhood was the film made over 10 or so years with all of the same actors and actresses for authenticity. I, surprisingly, did not like the film and was hoping that someone would get murdered in order to liven it up a bit. Most people, surprisingly, did not agree with me. Needless to say, it did not win the Oscar, which did make me very happy because I was right.) Back to poor Rachel; she is not having a very good time these days. According to an Associated Press article in the Bergen Record, Dolezal is a graduate from Howard University, a historically black college. She teaches African Studies and was married to a black man. Um, I have some questions: Did this husband of hers ever see her in the light without her makeup on? Did she keep it on all the time? Did she keep her hairpiece on all the time? I don’t know and I wasn’t available to find this man for questioning. What I did learn from this article was that for years she described herself as a black woman and “complained repeatedly of being the victim of racial hatred in the heavily white region.” I am beginning to think that this actual blonde haired, blue eyed woman would have taken on the role as the Nazi instead of the Jew if this situation had occurred back in the 1930’s…just saying. I am wondering if she would have considered playing the victim when those stakes were life and death.

The whole brouhaha began when Dolezal’s parents, who say they haven’t seen her in years, showed proof that the attractive black president of the Spokane NAACP could actually be the president of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fan club. (Now there is a juxtaposition of two opposites.) In any event, my point is, why the mask, Rachel? Why did you decide to doll yourself up and live as a black woman? What was your motivation? Bad childhood? Bullied in school for looking like everyone else? An unusual craving for soul food and a fondness for Kanye West? The only person who can answer that question is her. Just like when we can act one way in front of some people and an entirely different way in front of others, the only one that can answer that question is ourselves.

Masks. We can only hide behind them for so long before they crack and the person hiding behind them comes clean. Be true to yourself, be who you are and be loved by those deserving of all you have to offer, good, bad or ugly.

Banji Ganchrow was soul searching this week. She wants to take her mask off, but her kids keep telling her to put it back on. Her favorite mask is Cinderella.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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