- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2015

Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argued Monday that Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP whose parents outed her as white, “has proven herself a fierce and unrelenting champion” for the black community, regardless of her race.

Ms. Dolezal stepped down from her position Monday after her birth parents, who are white, said last week that their family’s ancestry is Czech, Swedish and German, with a touch of Native American heritage. They said their daughter had been falsely portraying herself as a black woman for nearly a decade.

“Despite all this, you can’t deny that Dolezal has proven herself a fierce and unrelenting champion for African-Americans politically and culturally,” Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, 68, wrote for Time magazine. “Not only has she led her local chapter of the NAACP, she teaches classes related to African-American culture at Eastern Washington University and is chairwoman of a police oversight committee monitoring fairness in police activities. Bottom line: The black community is better off because of her efforts.”

He then argued that Ms. Dolezal “merely selected a cultural preference of which cultural group she most identifies with.”

“Who can blame her? Anyone who listens to the Isaac Hayes song, ‘Shaft,’ wants to be black — for a little while anyway (#who’sthecatwhowon’tcopout),” he joked.

Mr. Abdul-Jabbar concluded by asking, “does it really matter whether Rachel Dolezal is black or white?”

“Dr. King said we should be judged by the content of character rather than color of skin, which is what makes this case so difficult. So, yes, it does matter,” he wrote. “Apparently lying to employers and the public you’re representing when the lie benefits you personally and professionally is a deficit in character. However, the fight for equality is too important to all Americans to lose someone as passionate as she is and who has accomplished as much as she has. This seems more a case of her standing up and saying, ‘I am Spartacus!’ rather than a conspiracy to defraud. Let’s give her a Bill Clinton Get Out of Jail Free card on this one (#Ididnothavesex) and let her get back to doing what she clearly does exceptionally well — making America more American.”

Similar sentiments were expressed Monday morning by “The View’s” Whoopi Goldberg and Raven-Symoné, who are both black.

“Everybody is from Africa, pretty much … What makes a black person, just your skin?” Raven-Symoné asked.

“Look, just like people say, ‘I feel like I’m a man,’ ‘I feel like I’m a woman,’ ‘I feel like I’m this,’ she feels like a black woman,” Ms. Goldberg added.

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