Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of days, you have likely seen the unusual story of Rachel Dolezal, the leader of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP who has been lying to people about being Black. As strange as the situations seems, Dolezal is not the first White person to pass for Black.
Here are six other White people who deceived others into thinking they were Black, via NewsOne:
John Howard Griffin
In 1961, Griffin published “Black Like Me,” a book that chronicled his experience disguising himself as a Black man in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement in the South. He spent much of his time as a Black man traveling through Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia and claimed to experience hateful stares regularly from Whites. The book proved to be so riveting that it has been required teaching in schools.
“Black Like Me” inspired Halsell to disguise herself as a Black woman and get a job as a domestic worker for Whites. She used pills and excessive sun exposure to darken her tone, and reportedly, while disguised, one of her employers attempted to rape her. The Fort Worth, Texas native wrote about the outcome in her 1969 book, “Soul Sister.”
Mark L. Stebbins
In 1983, Stebbins ran for city council in a Black and Hispanic district in Stockton, California. The only issue was that he insisted he was Black, but had blue eyes and light skin, as well as two White parents and five white siblings. Regardless of his questionable claim of being Black, he won the election.
Philip and Paul Malone
These identical twin brothers worked at the Boston Fire Department for 10 years, but were fired in 1988 because it was revealed they had lied about being Black on their application. It seemed that the light-haired and light-skinned brothers took advantage of the city’s affirmative action policy. They had initially applied in 1975 as White, but received low civil service test scores. In 1977, they reapplied and placed on their forms that they were Black. The brothers were hired the following year.
Wilson, a White conservative, ran for a seat on the Houston Community College board and won in 2013. He is accused, however, of using campaign strategies in African-American areas that implied he was a Black man. His campaign handouts contained pictures of Black people with the message, “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.” He still holds a seat on the board today.