African-American teen insists she's white, says black people are 'ghetto' and 'ugly'

Elise Solé

An African-American teen who insists she’s white and calls black people “fat and gross” has created a national firestorm.

Sixteen-year-old Treasure appeared on the Dr. Phil show this week with her mother, Monique, and brother, Kendal, to discuss the teen’s core belief that she is Caucasian. “My hair is not nappy … my nose is not giant, and my lips are perfect,” explained Treasure. “Most African-Americans speak ‘ghetto’” and are “ugly.”

The teen claimed, “I act and I think like a white person,” and said she believes she is “completely and utterly better than” African-Americans. “Black people think in a criminal way,” she said. “They’re really dangerous. If an African-American is on the same street as I am, I will cross the street to avoid their chaotic, thuggish ways.”

Treasure said she knows for certain that she is white because she feels it “in her blood.”

Her mother is also concerned because Treasure is “consumed by the Ku Klux Klan” and has the organization’s phone number on speed dial.

Treasure admitted that she lacks empathy and sympathy toward others: “If I gave a homeless person a dollar, I would take it back because I would like to see the sadness on his face.”

Twitter went off on Treasure, calling her “delusional” and blaming the mother for misguiding her daughter.

Monique shed some light on her daughter’s behavior, telling Dr. Phil that she was previously married to a white man and allowed her children to believe they were his biological children. “He was the only father figure that I had for my children,” she said. After Monique’s husband died, she revealed the truth because “I wanted them to understand that they were African-American as opposed to thinking they were mixed-race children. And it wouldn’t hurt anybody because my husband was no longer alive.”

When Treasure turned 5, she began having “issues with her race,” said Monique. “She wouldn’t play with the black children. Treasure would mangle or destroy her black dolls. She would cut their heads off, pull off their arms. She would pretend that they were the white dolls’ slaves.”

On Wednesday, Dr. Phil introduced Treasure and her family to Spirit, an Atlanta-based life coach, who directed her comments to Monique. “You lied to her about who she was, and then when you told her she was something else, it caused a complete identity crisis. So we have issues around culture, class, racial identity, and self-esteem. It’s not that she hates black people — it’s that she hates herself. She wants her old life back.”

Bethany Marshall, a Los Angeles-based psychoanalyst, says the behavior of Treasure (whom she does not treat) could certainly reflect a rejection of her mother for perpetuating a substantial lie. “Treasure seems to be punishing her mom and compensating for the loss of her father by claiming to be white — just like him,” Marshall tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

However, race may have piggybacked onto a broader issue. “This teen may receive what we call ‘secondary gains’ from making racist statements,” says Marshall. “The symptom is racism, and the side benefit is pleasure derived from the resulting attention.”

Marshall points to Treasure’s canned, seemingly rehearsed declarations, such as “African-Americans speak ‘ghetto’” and “Black people are ugly,” which are trite, stereotypical, and shallow, and her apparent delight from appearing on television. “It feels like she’s spouting controversy for a purpose other than what she claims,” she says.

“Good mental health means having a preference for reality,” says Marshall. “If this teen truly believes she is white, she may suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders; it’s impossible to know from a TV episode, but she’s likely driven by the attention from her antics.”

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