Netflix’s “The Rachel Divide” Is The Evidence of Abuse Against Black Children That Can’t Be Denied
You’re also going to detest Rachel Dolezal even more than you already do
First off — Netflix’s The Rachel Divide is a hot mess — from start to finish. Director Laura Brownson’s brave attempt at presenting one of the most hated women in America in a more relatable and empathetic light — wasn’t achievable for many reasons —and the main culprit is Rachel Dolezal’s incoherency — which makes her grossly unlikeable.
The documentary should also have a trigger alert for Black people — who like me — are still reeling from the shocking and unbearably disturbing aftermath following the tragic deaths of six Black adopted children — who were willfully murdered by their abusive mothers — some weeks ago.
Once it became clear that the lesbian White couple who posed as decent human beings with a penchant for saving Black children from neglect — were actually undercover criminals — who subjected these poor Black kids to extreme cruelty — including forced starvation — I began to ponder how and why the signs of mistreatment were not only ignored — but also irresponsibly downplayed.
Of course the answer lies in the fact that those who witnessed the madness — were reluctant to accept the reality of how two White women who demonstrate the falsehood of being “woke” enough to nurture their Black children to the point of hawking them around for attention and possibly fame — which was recklessly done with Devonte Hart — could also be real life monsters — capable of drugging their kids — and packing them in an SUV for the purpose of deliberately driving off a steep cliff.
As the case of the Hart family continues to evaporate with unanswered questions and the pain of never finding the closure and justice for the Black children — who were damned the moment those White women got their hands on them — I continue to be assaulted by the realization that their harrowing predicament is actually quite common.
As we dive deeper into Dolezal’s past — her childhood inevitably comes up— and — yes — it’s just as fucked up as we imagined it to be. Her White parents were ultra-religious — beyond reason — and this led to the mother’s coldness towards her daughter — whom she believed was cursed due to her turbulent birth.
Dolezal’s parents had two biological children — Rachel and older brother Joshua — and then proceeded to adopt four Black children (Ezra, Izaiah, Esther and Zach) and it was during this period that the girl who was born Caucasian — became fascinated with the idea of revamping her identity.
According to Dolezal’s testimony — her parents exhibited no desire to learn the culture of the Black children they were holding against their will — and instead resorted to brutalizing them — physically and mentally. There’s also the alleged sexual abuse that Esther suffered at the hands of Joshua — which he has vehemently denied — and the “four felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor” were dismissed back in 2015.
As the film progresses — we are introduced to a grown up Esther as she testifies to the severe attacks that were inflicted on her and her Black siblings by the White parents — who relentlessly punished them. We watch her initiate her escape from the hellish location of her captivity — with the help of Dolezal who supports her sister’s long overdue legal emancipation from her White captors.
It’s heartbreaking to hear Esther detail the memory of how her “mother” shamed her for daring to confess the sexual abuse at the hands of her biological son — the only one who was perfect in her eyes — and couldn’t possibly be guilty of such a blasphemous act.
Dolezal — gives further insight into her complex upbringing — which got even more strenuous after the children of color arrived — and based on what she observed — she became motivated to immerse herself in African-American studies in order to form a deeper connection with her siblings.
This intense period of research and internalization ushered in Dolezal’s drastic transformation — that began with her appearance and gradually morphed into the phenomenon that shocked the nation when the secrets and lies surrounding her true identity became public.
Basically — The Rachel Divide — showcases the aftermath of the controversy that erupted after Dolezal’s dishonest existence as a White woman pretending to be a Black woman is busted — and the world that she built with misguided objectives comes crashing down.
We see a visibly pregnant Dolezal struggle to recover from the consequences of her actions with the help of her biological son — Franklin — who is the result of a short-lived marriage to a Black guy who evidently didn’t appreciate her “blackness” long enough to stick around — and Izaiah — the adoptive brother she ends up adopting — who is weirdly thrown into the role of “man of the house.”
Dolezal has a lot of time on her hands after she was swiftly removed from her position as president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington — where she still lives under the hateful glare of residents who she’s convinced are terrorizing her and her children.
The creepier scenes are delivered through her grooming regimen — where we are torturously treated to the intricacies of how well she’s mastered how to turn her tresses into replicas of the ethnic styles — that are supposed to boost her “blackness.”
The lighter interludes are centered around her hobby as a very talented artist — which she uses as a form self-expression — since it’s the only outlet that permits the freedom she rightfully lost after her deceitful ways left her vulnerable and imprisoned.
Her former colleagues at the NAACP who are still reeling from the betrayal of a fake leader — who they suspected was a fraud — but unfathomably gave her the benefit of the doubt until shit hit the fan — are given the opportunity to shred her to bits. There’s also appearances by Jeff Humphrey — the reporter who used his investigative skills to burst the bubble that Dolezal was dwelling in — for far too long.
There are other pieces of the film that are noteworthy — including the birth of her baby boy Langston Attickus — who is biracial and destined to grow up without his dad in the picture.
We also get to see Dolezal’s relationship with the media as she appears on talk shows like The Real — where she’s grilled into submission as she finally admits the obvious truth about her identity. Her promotional tour for her new book that expectedly and gratifyingly flops — takes her to the studios of the Today show in New York — where she once again fails to win over her interviewer or the viewers who can’t wait to slaughter her performance.
But — the most jarring aspects of the documentary is how it sorrowfully depicts the ongoing issues that are assigned to Black children who are lawfully battered by a system — that doesn’t give a damn where they end up — because of the tags of worthlessness that are automatically imprinted on their skin.
“The Rachel Divide” Is The Evidence of Abuse Against Black Children That Can’t Be Denied.
The truth is that if you already detest Rachel Dolezal — you might end up resenting her even more by the time the end credits begin to roll. Yes — it’s totally fucked up that she was also victimized by her parents — and allegedly sexually abused by her older brother. And watching how her adoptive Black siblings were mistreated and routinely discarded — obviously planted the seed for self-destruction.
And this is where things get quite personal and uncomfortably real as it becomes difficult to deny how Dolezal’s abusive upbringing ultimately laid the foundation for the destiny of her own children — in ways that are tragically unfair.
The brunt of this excruciating exercise is burdened on the shoulders of thirteen-year-old Franklin — who seems to be lovingly protective of his mother in the earlier parts of the film — but loses some of that momentum towards the end — when it’s apparent that Dolezal could be taking advantage of his naivety. The older brother Izaiah — is able to turn his growing pains into an excuse to leave the nest and fly abroad — in search of the healthier disposition he deserves.
Franklin — on the other hand is stuck at home with his infant half-brother — and a mother who is too self-absorbed to comprehend the magnitude of what her teenage son has to contend with — on her behalf. His mannerisms during filming reveales a child — reluctantly thrown into bizarre circumstances beyond his control — who is beginning to resent the woman — courting the danger they are constantly dodging — at every turn.
The worst of it stems from Dolezal’s declarations of the threats she and her small family face almost on a daily basis — from neighborhood stalkers and online trolls. It’s almost as if she takes pride in the victimhood she claims as we watch her read the venomous reactions to her Facebook posts — which leads us to wonder why she hasn’t considered ending the volatile climate she shares with users — that is clearly doing more harm than good.
Watching Franklin express his frustration at the immensity of his mother’s irrevocably tarnished reputation — and how the effects are poisoning their lives — is grippingly torturous and would make any woman my age feel the urge to rescue him from his torment with immediacy.
Dolezal’s delusional quest to stay “Black” by embracing all the qualities that are embedded in what she deems as the “Black experience” remains a constant theme — and thanks to her debilitatingly stubborn streak — she leaves us with the promise of her never-ending pledge to claim a status that doesn’t belong to her.
It’s hard to drum up empathy for a White woman who uses her White privilege as a weapon of mass destruction — in the same way her parents did when they purposely assembled four black children — under the guise of goodwill — knowing they had no intention of nourishing them in a nurturing and healthy environment.
Two of those children — Esther and Izaiah — share graphic descriptions of the physical assault they bore — which began when they were toddlers. As a sick way of paying homage to their “roots” — their White captors chose to whip them into shape with the aid of a baboon whip.
When you allow that to sink in — there’s no easy way to avoid the ongoing crisis that involves the way Black children are readily sold to White households that really serve as slave houses — where the shackles are secured and Black bodies are once again under the spell of freaks — who are given the legal right to re-enact the most inhumane era of our existence.
The Hart family perished under the duress of the two White adoptive mothers who buckled under the pressure of maintaining the inauthentic familial bliss — that their acquaintances and the media praised from a distance.
But — the surviving Black children from the Dolezal household — who willingly extracted themselves from prison — are not free because as they concisely stated — despite the physical scars that are woefully present — the emotional scars will never heal well enough to release the years of enslavement.
Dolezal is exacting a similar form of bondage on her teenage sons — and it will undoubtedly extend to her baby boy when he gets old enough to assess the family he was bequeathed. Her inability to dispense with the idiotic ideology of her “blackness” is costing her more than she realizes — which is the reasoning behind categorizing her as an unfit parent.
She actively sought out Black men for procreation — with the hopes that it would play into her ill-conceived narrative — and now that they’re here and under her care — she’s torturing her offspring with the filth from her mental disorganization — that will ultimately fuck them up for life.
As the film winds down — we see Dolezal happily celebrate her new legal name — Nkechi Amare Diallo — and her sparkling mood suggests that this act of defiance will somehow provide her and her sons a permanent break from their stormy past.
Any sensible person already knows that for as long as Dolezal continues to use her White womanhood as the tool of both her privilege and discontent by waging a war that she will never win as the “Black woman” she will never be — changing her name will only exacerbate an already hopeless and infectious situation.
In the meantime — as Dolezal plays the role of the only White woman in America without an audience for her pitiful tears — the real victims of the crime against Black babies stay in the background — as the silent and unrewarded injured party — caught in a collision of Whiteness that has proven to be historically fatal.
We need to save Black children from White people that are obsessed with the idea of watching them perform in their morbidly-inspired fantastical skits. The fact that Dolezal’s parents aren’t rotting in prison at this very moment is a travesty.
We have to protect the interests of those who desperately need it the most — and if it means restricting access to prospective White adoptive parents — then so be it. Sometimes only extreme measures will do — and in this case —I’m all for it — and you should be too.