The Next Rachel Dolezal?? Arab Activist’s Mother Reveals She’s ‘White As The Driven Snow’!
A Quaker organization called the American Friends Service Committee is facing a shockwave of allegations and social media backlash after a woman within the org has been outed for apparently LYING about her ethnic background! WTF?!
Remember Rachel Dolezal, y’all? (How could anyone forget?) Well, this new story is about a woman people on social media are calling Raquel Dolezal — because she seems like a repeat of the ex-NAACP activist. Only… maybe worse??
Here we go…
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So, all this first bubbled up late Thursday night when the Intercept published a report about a woman named Raquel Evita Saraswati. She was said to be a Muslim activist working with the AFSC who — for years — claimed to be a woman of color with Latina, South Asian, and Arab ancestors. That’s her in the pic (above), being interviewed on Fox News.
She rose high in the AFSC’s ranks, too. Currently, she is the organization’s chief equity, inclusion, and culture officer. That is a “senior position that gives her access to the files of dozens of the organization’s staff and volunteers,” per the outlet’s reporting.
But according to the news org, it’s all a fraud: “Raquel” was actually born Rachel Elizabeth Seidel, and she is NOT a person of color. That bombshell isn’t just a random allegation, either, but a direct claim from somebody who knows her the best: Rachel’s own mother, Carol Perone!!
Perone spoke to the Intercept by phone for their shocking report. The miffed momma informed them her whole family “is of British, German, and Italian descent.” Truly telling it like it is, Carol said:
“I’m as white as the driven snow and so is she. … I’m German and British, and her father was Calabrese Italian.”
Yeah… pretty far from whatever she’s presenting to the world. We mean… Just look! Momma isn’t pulling any punches either, saying:
“She’s chosen to live a lie, and I find that very, very sad.”
The activist’s frustrated mom clearly sounded confused about why her daughter Rachel would choose to slightly alter her name to Raquel, too:
“I call her Rachel. I don’t know why she’s doing what she’s doing.”
The name change is certainly strange. (Just ask Hilaria Baldwin about that…) And going from Rachel to Raquel might not even be the strangest part! As shocked social media users have been pointing out on Friday, Raquel’s chosen last name, Saraswati, is that of a major Hindu goddess. That’s quite an, um, interesting choice for a Muslim activist… right? Seems like she pulled from a bit of everything for her new persona.
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But beyond the name, Perone came with the receipts. She produced for the Intercept her Ancestry.com profile, which proved the British, German, and Italian heritage. Carol also shared private photos of Saraswati’s late biological father, who is white.
And Carol also shared pics of Saraswati as a child. She asked the outlet not to publish those snaps, but the news org does report Saraswati’s “complexion is significantly lighter than the bronzed look in more recent photographs.” Like Dolezal, she seems to have achieved some level of tanning to fake her ethnicity. The outlet also reports another family member, who asked to remain anonymous, also confirmed “Saraswati” is white.
Perone did say her daughter converted to Islam in high school. Which is fine! You’re allowed to do that! The problem here isn’t that she’s faking being a Muslim, but that she’s allegedly faking everything else! And the misrepresentation of her ethnic background is especially egregious because it may be for more than a bizarre personal belief that she “identifies” as a person of color. It may be for personal and professional gain — and she might even be using it to betray her organization!
See, Saraswati got her current position with the AFSC after applying for the job via a Quaker search committee who was looking to hire a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer. Oskar Pierre Castro is a human resources pro who worked on that search committee and recalls Saraswati telling them she was a “queer, Muslim, multiethnic woman.” Castro, who said he was initially impressed by Saraswati’s “credentials and charm” in addition to her background, said:
“It really touched all the points. It seemed that there was an element of lived experience and understanding because of the lived experience, not just the academic and extra training that come with being in a position where you are an equity and inclusion practitioner. … In my mind it was, ‘great, a person of color, a queer person of color, who happens to be a Muslim, it’s a woman, all these things, and someone who seemed to get it. I definitely feel conned. … I feel deceived.”
Yeah, no kidding.
The Intercept noted Saraswati did not respond to multiple requests for comment “sent to her by email, phone, and on social media.” However, the AFSC did release a statement which revealed Raquel “stands by her identity” even in spite of this reporting. Um… wow!
Layne Mullett, a spokesperson for the AFSC, stated to the news org:
“We are in receipt of the documentation alleging that our Chief Equity, Inclusion, and Culture Officer, Raquel Saraswati, has been misrepresenting her identity. AFSC has given Raquel the opportunity to address the allegations against her, and Raquel stands by her identity. Raquel also assures us that she remains loyal to AFSC’s mission, which we firmly believe. AFSC does not require any employee to ‘prove’ their heritage as a condition of their employment, or in order to be valued as a member of our team.”
Standing by her. Wow! And the fact that she stands by her own identity in light of all this. DOUBLE wow!! But what about that betrayal we mentioned? That may prove to be far more significant — as the Intercept notes she may have “a possible hidden political agenda.” WHAT??
The AFSC may state outwardly that they officially believe Raquel’s intentions, that they’re standing by her commitment to their organization. But according to the outlet, an unidentified group of AFSC members posted an anonymous letter to Medium that pointed out Saraswati made media appearances immediately after the September 11, 2011 terror attacks “in conservative and Islamophobic spaces, including right-wing TV shows, where she was presented as a ‘moderate’ Muslim critical of Islamic extremism.” AFSC members are concerned she was doing so to strike out against other Muslims, knowing right-wing audiences would view them as more “radical” in turn. The outlet reports those appearances included stints on Glenn Beck‘s CNN show, multiple Fox News shows, and even going on far-right programs on Newsmax. Man, she has been doing this a long time…
And the crazy part of that side of this story is that many of those bizarre media appearances are now just… gone?? As the news org notes, Saraswati has refused to address any of that old work in the last two decades, and “much of it appears to have been scrubbed from the internet.” Like maybe the programs smelled something was up and deleted them? Hmm. Some of the old appearances you can still find posted on YouTube, however. Here she is on NewsMax speaking out against “radical Muslims.” Kinda takes a different tone when you consider this is a WHITE WOMAN allegedly pretending to be Arab saying all this, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, in that aforementioned Medium letter, AFSC members critical of Saraswati’s situation demanded that she step down from her role within the organization.
“We hope that this will catalyze further truth-telling and accountability.”
In a subsequent interview with the Intercept, an unnamed AFSC member added:
“People are concerned. There’s a fear that she could be an agent, because she started her career right-wing. She was a token Muslim voice in that milieu. She never publicly apologized.”
This isn’t just an ethnicity issue for concerned AFSC members, either. That group has been infiltrated by the FBI and even some right-wing organizations before because of their views on Palestine, according to the leader who spoke to the Intercept. And in 2021, another Muslim civil rights group — the Council on American-Islamic Relations — was infamously rocked by scandal after their executive and legal director was found to be a covert anti-Muslim operative reporting back sensitive information on Islam in America to the right-wing Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The anonymous AFSC member added:
“Imagine the trauma of people who confided in her, trusted her, and shared sensitive information about their work and about their lives, thinking that she’s a fellow person of color. And now all of a sudden, it’s a white woman with a right-wing history. It’s scary.”
Jeez! What a potential conspiracy. The ethnicity stuff is wild enough, but that took a dark turn at the end. So unsettling!! Could she really be a right-wing spy??
You can read the Intercept‘s full report HERE, and you can view that full Medium open letter HERE.
Reactions, Perezcious readers?
[Image via Fox News/YouTube.]