Diversity activist who calls himself Latino, Arab and South Asian denounced as white by his mother


Raquel Evita Saraswati, a Muslim activist who claims to be a woman of color, was kicked out by her mother saying she was “white as snow.”

Saraswati, 39, is Chief Equity, Inclusion and Culture Officer for the American Friends Service Commission (AFSC), an organization of Quakers fighting for peace and social justice worldwide.

Saraswati, whose birth name is Rachel Elizabeth Seidel, has misrepresented her ethnic background for years, according to members of the organization. claimed to be.

in an interview with intercepther mother, Carol Perrone, said that Saraswati is actually of British, German and Italian descent.

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“I call her Rachel,” she said. “I don’t know why she’s doing this. I’m white as snow. “I am German and English and her father was Italian from Calabrese. She chose to lie. I am very, very sad.”

According to Perrone, her daughter converted to Islam in high school and at some point began to introduce herself as Muslim. different ethnic identities.

Perone shared a photo with The Intercept that shows Saraswati as a child with a lighter complexion compared to the bronze complexion in recent photos.

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Oscar Pierre Castro, a personnel officer who helped the AFSC hire Saraswati, said the activist described herself as a “queer, Muslim, multiethnic woman.”

“In my mind, I was like, ‘Awesome, people of color, queer people of color who happen to be Muslims and it’s women’, all these things, and someone who seemed to understand it.” “I’m definitely locked up. I feel cheated,” she told The Intercept.

AFSC spokesperson Rain Mallett released a statement to The Intercept to address the issue surrounding Saraswati’s identity.

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We have received documents claiming that Raquel Saraswati, Chief Equity, Inclusion and Culture Officer, has misrepresented her identity. The AFSC has given Raquel an opportunity to address the allegations against her, and Raquel stands by her identity. Raquel also promises to remain true to the AFSC’s mission, which we firmly believe in. AFSC does not require employees to “certify” their heritage as a condition of employment or to be evaluated as part of a team. “

However, some AFSC members have expressed concern that activists may have hidden political agendas and are trying to undermine the group.

“People are worried,” a member of the AFSC leadership told The Intercept. “She started her career in the right wing, so there are fears she could become an agent. She was the token Muslim voice in that environment.” there is no.”

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Some members claim that Saraswati appeared on a right-wing TV show after 9/11, where she was described by Islamic extremists as a “moderate” Muslim detractor.

“Imagine the trauma of those who confided in her, trusted her, assumed she was a person of color, and shared confidential information about their work and life,” said the AFSC leader. “And then all of a sudden she’s a white woman with a right-wing history. That’s scary.”

Saraswati did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment, but she wrote: statement on Facebook on Saturday.

I assure people that as soon as I am able, they will attack me by answering recent arguments. I am currently taking my time to get to where I can answer in the most informative and complete way.