The Inexcusability of Lies (a Rachel Dolezal opinion)

I wasn’t going to weigh in on Rachel Dolezal in any sort of public way. As a white chick, I don’t feel like the issue in general is any of my business. But I also don’t feel like all the hate ascribed to her motives is okay. I’m hearing people say she lied to “steal a job that should have gone to a person of color,” and that she, “engaged in cultural appropriation in order to obtain privilege she didn’t deserve.” If Black Privilege is a thing, this is the first I’ve heard of it. Her actions have been called “insensitive, self-aggrandizing, hateful, hurtful,” and the ever-popular PC standby “problematic.”

To my mind, she wanted to change her identity to distance herself from truly horrible people that, sadly, she had a biological bond with. I relate to this fully. Yet, I hear people railing on about how “She lied, SHE LIED!!! OMG, how can you let it go that she LIIIIIEEEDDD?!?!?!11/11” For fuck’s sake, if any of you try to tell me that you’ve never lied–or even that you’ve never lied about anything important, I’m gonna have to tell you that you’re a goddamn liar. Yes, I realize that there are racial components to her lies, and that I’m skipping right over them in this post. I’m not going to argue with anyone who thinks the racial implications of Dolezal’s actions make them unforgivable. That’s none of my business.

I’d like to tell you all something. Given some of your reactions to Dolezal, this may come as a shock to you (though honestly, I bet it won’t).

My legal last name is NOT Friday. That’s right, I “lied.” When I wanted to distance myself from a family that didn’t give half a fuck about my well-being, I toyed with the idea of changing my last name to Friday, legally. This was around 1997, my lowest point of mental health crisis in my adult life (though I had suicidal ideation all through high school and most of college). I finally said to my family, “I don’t want to have anything to do with any of you until you can treat me with some basic goddamn courtesy and respect.” I never heard from my mother, or her husband (my adoptive “father”) again.

To be extra clear, this was long before I started writing “A Stabbing for Sadie,” my first published book, and the first time I used the Friday name on anything substantial. I continued to use the Friday name in my personal and professional life. I legally took H’s last name when I married him, but continue to use the Friday name anywhere that isn’t a bank, doctor’s office, tax document, or other situation where it’s illegal to use a false name.

I never changed it legally. That shit is expensive. Plus, my mom paid the state to falsify my birth certificate as a kid, so I don’t even have a copy of one that says what my birth name is. I was told that it’s perfectly fine to use whatever name I want so long as it’s not for the purpose of committing fraud.

Let me ask, how many of you feel “lied to, deceived, taken advantage of?” Who thinks I should apologize to everyone I’ve “misled?” Who thinks the abuse I’ve endured has “nothing to do with the adult” I am today? Who thinks lies are NOT an integral part of growing up with a mentally ill parent with no clue about their own mental illness? If you really don’t understand why abused children lie, and why the habit of lying is so hard to break–hit me up. I’ll be happy to explain it to you–that is, if you think you can trust a liar like me.

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