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Huckleberries: Much-maligned Rachel Dolezal once faced down racists

Rachel Dolezal in 2009 when she was education director for the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene. She was putting the finishing touches on an exhibit about privatization of international water rights. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Rachel Dolezal in 2009 when she was education director for the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene. She was putting the finishing touches on an exhibit about privatization of international water rights. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Before Rachel Dolezal (aka Nkechi Amare Diallo) became a punchline for late-night talk shows, she faced down six neo-Nazis near the western entrance to downtown Coeur d’Alene.

At the time, she was no longer working for Coeur d’Alene’s Human Rights Education Institute. But she felt compelled to do something when the racists appeared on Northwest Boulevard to protest the annual MLK Jr. celebration for fifth-graders at North Idaho College.

On Jan. 22, 2012, Huckleberries told of her lonely, brave vigil. The neo-Nazis called Rachel out by name as she stood across the street silently counterprotesting. Rachel was criticized at the time for confronting rather than ignoring the racists.

Rachel told Huckleberries afterward that protest was part of MLK’s peaceful resistance. Said she: “The entire movement was based on doing something rather than sitting by, ignoring things and letting the gravity of human depravity run its course with ongoing Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The sit-ins were active, not passive. The marches were active, not passive. The voter-registration was active, not passive.”

Say what you want about Rachel. But she’s active, not passive.

Sister shoppers

Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson can’t recall when she’s had so much fun shopping with baby sister Ronna. And they were thousands of miles apart. Kerri was at home in Post Falls. Ronna was shopping at a clothing store in Churchill Downs, Kentucky.

The long-distance shopping spree began when Ronna posted a photo of those fabulous Kentucky Derby hats on her social media. Kerri texted ASAP: “Are you still in the shop?” Ronna was. Then, Kerri asked Ronna to model a white hat that had caught her eye. Ronna did and texted back a photo. It looked great on her. The sisters share the same type and volume of hair. Kerri ordered the hat on the spot.

Now all she needs is a horse race.

Huckleberries

Poet’s Corner: “Rachel Dolezal changed her name,/ And might receive some flack./ But this whole affair,/ Will hardly compare,/ To claiming she was black” – Remember The Bard (“Nkechi Amare Diallo”) … Bumpersnicker (on a red Toyota Prius, waiting for the light near Coeur d’Alene’s Silverlake Mall Wednesday evening): “Microbiology: It’s a small world.” And, yes, the Disneyland theme ride music began looping in the old cranium … Another sign that spring is on the way: The panhandlers have returned to the three Kootenai County Wal-Marts and the Prairie Shopping Center in Hayden … Bob West, a former Republican Kootenai County coroner, has the perfect letter grade for all mainstream Republicans who are nervous about President Donald Trump: “B-plus for direction; D-minus for performance.”

Parting shot

Charlie Greenwood of Spokane emails a photo of that ha-huge Idaho potato that you may have spotted sometime on a 72-foot semitrailer – a jolly brown traveling giant, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. Charlie photographed the 6-ton tater last June when it made a pit stop at the Holiday Inn on Sunset Highway, west of Spokane. A friend wondered aloud: “GMO?” Charlie, who worked in seed-potato fields in Grant County as a kid, knew better. He deadpanned: “Nah, just a typical white russet.”