Does Rachel Dolezal actually represent the peak of white supremacy?

Celebrities At 'The Today Show' In NYC

Rachel Dolezal is still promoting her book, which is why she’s still giving interviews about how for real, you guys, she’s super-black. Trust her, she’s black! So, to promote the book, The Stranger sent journalist/author Ijeoma Oluo to interview her and woooo, this article, you guys. My God. Oluo is a fantastic writer and she doesn’t shy away from personalizing the story about how she feels, as a scholar of black history and as a black woman, when dealing with Dolezal face-to-neo-blackface. The piece is called “The Heart of Whiteness” and it’s an amazing read – go here for the full piece and set aside some time to read the whole thing because OMG. Here’s one part of the article which is… just…

… It is obvious by then that Dolezal does not like me, but I don’t appear to be alone in that feeling. Throughout our conversation, I get the increasing impression that, for someone who claims to love blackness, Rachel Dolezal has little more than contempt for many black people and their own black identities.

The dismissive and condescending attitude toward any black people who see blackness differently than she does is woven throughout her comments in our conversation. It is not just our pettiness, it is also our lack of education that is preventing us from getting on Dolezal’s level of racial understanding. She informs me multiple times that black people have rejected her because they simply haven’t learned yet that race is a social construct created by white supremacists, they simply don’t know any better and don’t want to: “I’ve done my research, I think a lot of people, though, haven’t probably read those books and maybe never will.”

I point out that I am a black woman with a political-science degree who writes about race and culture for a living, who has indeed read “those books.” I find her blanket justification of “race is a social construct” overly simplistic. “Race is just a social construct” is a retort I get quite often from white people who don’t want to talk about black issues anymore. A lot of things in our society are social constructs—money, for example—but the impact they have on our lives, and the rules by which they operate, are very real. I cannot undo the evils of capitalism simply by pretending to be a millionaire.

…I couldn’t escape Rachel Dolezal because I can’t escape white supremacy. And it is white supremacy that told an unhappy and outcast white woman that black identity was hers for the taking. It is white supremacy that told her that any black people who questioned her were obviously uneducated and unmotivated to rise to her level of wokeness. It is white supremacy that then elevated this display of privilege into the dominating conversation on black female identity in America. It is white supremacy that decided that it was worth a book deal, national news coverage, and yes—even this interview.

And with that, the anger that I had toward her began to melt away. Dolezal is simply a white woman who cannot help but center herself in all that she does—including her fight for racial justice. And if racial justice doesn’t center her, she will redefine race itself in order to make that happen. It is a bit extreme, but it is in no way new for white people to take what they want from other cultures in the name of love and respect, while distorting or discarding the remainder of that culture for their comfort. What else is National Geographic but a long history of this practice. Maybe now that I’ve seen the unoriginality of it all, even with my sister’s name that she has claimed as her own, she will haunt me no more and simply blend into the rest of white supremacy that I battle every day.

[From The Stranger]

I think Oluo has unlocked the puzzle of Rachel Dolezal. It’s not performance art and it’s not insanity. It’s a unique-yet-familiar privilege. It’s insidious and gross but it’s also just… a white woman thinking that it’s fine to do this, that no one will find out or care if she adopted blackness as casually as some people adopt a goth phase. And yes, the dismissive way Dolezal deals with criticism – or even mild questioning – from black people is astounding.

Collateral Beauty European Premiere

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and Dolezal’s Instagram.

 

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187 Responses to “Does Rachel Dolezal actually represent the peak of white supremacy?”

  1. radio active says:

    Slow. Clap. Love this!

  2. Jenns says:

    I highly recommend that article. Because it really is the last thing you will ever need to read about this woman.

  3. Pumpkin Pie says:

    Race is not a social construct. It is a biological reality which reflects the way the human being has evolved under specific circumstances which can be scientifically explained.
    Racism is the product of ignorance and evil.

    • Patricia says:

      I completely agree. How convenient that white people have the option to dismiss it as of it doesn’t exist.

    • Aims says:

      This is the best explanation I have ever heard .

    • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

      Yikes. Explain the “science” behind racial classifications then. I’d love to hear it.

      My continent is full of culturally, genetically diverse populations that white invaders decided to group into arbitrary, unscientific labels. Cushitic speakers are genetically distinct from Bantu speakers, who are genetically distinct from Nilo-Saharan speakers. What biological reasons are there to group them all together as part of one race?

      • Pumpkin Pie says:

        The initial classification of races (late 19th century) was based on the most obvious physical features which distinguished large groups of individuals from one another. Further on, it was determined that those three groups have had diversity within. This led to learning more about evolution and genetics to name just two core issues regarding the human species. Needless to say how relevant those are. The fact that the science relating these biological differences was perverted to suit certain agendas is immoral, outrageous, and despicable. The fact that racism carries on is again immoral, outrageous, and despicable. Still, racism is not an issue which is limited to caucasians vs all others. It has more public prominence because of colonialism.

      • Pumpkin Pie says:

        Edit: large numbers of populations with what were perceived common or very similar physical features.

      • Baby Jane says:

        Lola, you are confusing race with ethnicity.

      • Zeddy says:

        The race is provable by distinctive features started by Franz Boas was already thrown out with the bath water. Try again.

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        @Baby Jane, the only person that’s confused here is you. Cushitic, Bantu etc aren’t ethnicities.

      • SlimJim says:

        It certainly wasn’t Franz Boas who perpetrated (and perpetuated) phrenology and other racially-based anthropological pseudo-science. He was the one who said that racial differences, if they existed, were cultural, not biological, and he dismissed the notion of racial or cultural superiority (relativism). Boas saw that anthropology must integrate linguistics, archaeology and history (material culture), biology, and ethnicity and culture if it was to be a serious science, and he recognized the need to reject that use of anthropology that maintained colonial attitudes and hierarchies determined by so-called race and racial differences. Anthropology began with bad intentions, its original sin is certainly racism, but it has evolved to become a holistic, methods-based, dispassionate, approach in the study of all humans and human history. And we can thank Boas in part for the paradigmatic shift. (Disclaimer: studied anthro; also, my great-grandfather, a black native American, knew Boas).

      • Bitchy says:

        The term “race” when applied to humans tries to express (in a twisted way) that certain physical features occur statistically more frequently in people in a certain geographic area. For example dark/black skin occurs statistically more frequently in Africa than in Middle Europe.
        But these physical differences actually don’t mean that there are different human races. The phyiscal differences are just a sign of diversity but they aren’t a sign of different human races. The human race is one race.

        My university professor (anthropology) explained it like this: an African person and a Chinese person are more closely related to each other genetically than two zebras in the African semi-desert. Those two zebras are gentically more different than two humans from same or different areas of this planet.

        As for Bantu and Cushitic speakers looking different: that might be the case but that doesn’t mean they are different races. It could be explained like this: in ancient times and middle ages people tended to live together in family clans and tribes. They also tended to marry within their clan/tribe. Marrying outside your clan/tribe occurred and occurs less often than marriages within the clan/tribe. And in that way similar physical features might have developed over a long time because people kept marrying each other. As a result after a few centuries everybody in a tribe was related to everybody else in the tribe via some family connections. And like in a big family those members of tribes shared a lot of similar physical features. But that is more like a big family sharing similar physical features like for example red hair.

        The human race is one race biologically and genetically.

      • jwoolman says:

        In the US, the racial categories were basically designed to identify who could be enslaved and who couldn’t (other than temporary indentured servitude). When non-English-speaking European immigrants (particularly children) were also sometimes sold as slaves, they were selected according to skin color to “pass” for being of African descent. The identification method worked for the first generation, but got murky as genes mixed. Nevertheless, people today still want to know if someone is in the black category even for more benign reasons. I remember overhearing two colleagues (one white, one black) earnestly discussing a local news anchor, trying to figure out if she was black or not… Only in America!

        People also go nuts trying to figure out the gender of babies and very young children they encounter with no obvious clues, since really they don’t know how to interact with them properly until they know if it’s a girl or a boy. I think the same is true for racial categories, it’s such a major distinction that people are uncomfortable until they know and it does affect their perception of the other person whether they want to admit it or not. It’s just ingrained in us through the very air we breathe.

        Anyway, the purpose of racial assignment in the US has never actually been a scientific thing, although I’ve read some old articles making all sorts of pseudoscientific claims about Africans to try to justify slavery and segregation after the fact. Race here has always been a legal and social thing, determining rights and privileges and lack thereof.

    • KJA says:

      Race is a social construct though, but that doesn’t mean racism isn’t real. When we say race is socially constructed we mean there’s no biological basis for grouping people as ‘black’ or ‘white’. The continent of Africa has a ridiculous amount of genetic variation and everyone there being grouped because they share a skin colour (which is even true if you consider the array of shades that fall within the ‘black’ race) makes no sense.

      Then you consider things like the ‘One Drop Rule’-where people with mixed ancestry identify as black and are seen socially as black and that shows that biology was never the issue. Our racial construct was created to uphold the ‘purity’ of whiteness. Race is not a biological reality and is an entirely arbitrary was of classifying biological diversity.

    • LondonGal says:

      agree! PERFECT explanation.

    • dancingonmyown says:

      No. Just no. As an anthropologist, no. There are no biological foundations for the construct that is “race.” None. It was junk science four hundred years ago and it still is.

      But racism is very real and this woman truly is the height of white supremacy.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        This.

        And Ijeoma Oluo explained perfectly that something being a social construct does not in anyway mean that its impact is not very real and severe for people. Racism is very, very real.

      • jmacky says:

        Excellent response. Humans share 99% of the same DNA and the variations we have are just as possible within a “racial” category” as outside of it. Our differences are microscopic compared to other beings.

        HOWEVER!! Racism is very real system of inequality and is institutionally, legally, culturally, economically and socially perpetuated and reproduced in human society.

        Dr. Oluo’s metaphor of money as a social construct but being incredibly powerful was brilliant—just because something is social as opposed to biological, does not mean it is not powerful, crippling and incredibly unjust. Humans are social beings and race was constructed with junk science to back it up in order to justify unjust laws and economies, and is with us today, thanks to white slave owners like Thomas Jefferson and his volume Notes on the State of Virginia and edicts like the Doctrine of Discovery which justified European colonial possession of land held by Native Nations in the western Hemisphere.

        Race is not biology but it has been used as a violent social mechanism of injustice.

      • Bitchy says:

        Dolezal found out that she had it easier by pretending she was black.

        I have red her interview.
        Apparently she is from a not rich family of fundamentalist christians and she had struggled to get out of that and she took the education route. Okay.
        But in that case she should simply admit that her struggles aren’t because of her being black but because of her being from a financially and educationally poor family. That means that her social and financial and religious background / her family’s deficitary educational background / her “class” is the root of her struggle and her identity.

      • Neverwintersand says:

        Can you tell me more? I’m from a former soviet union country. All the biology-related literature taught us that there were 4 races – black, mongoloid, caucasian and polinesian. Is it true though?

    • OhDear says:

      It’s a bit more complex than that, though. At least in the US, historically, “white” used to only constitute WASPs. As time went on, Irish and Italians were allowed into the white fold, then Eastern Europeans, then Jews (though it seems like Jewish people are starting to be considered to be separate from white people (in mainstream society, not just with white supremacists) in the past few months).

      There are several Supreme Court cases where the Court decided who was considered white, for example:
      * Dow v. US, where a man of Syrian descent was allowed to naturalize because Syrians are considered white
      * Ozawa v. US, where a man of Japanese decent was not considered “Caucasian” and therefore ineligible to naturalize
      * US v. Bhagat Singh Thind, where a man of Indian (India) descent was not considered “Caucasian” and therefore ineligible to naturalize

      (tl;dr: In the US, race, or at least whiteness, *is* a social construct to determine who belongs and who does not)

      None of this is to defend Dolezal in any way – she seems like a deeply insecure, ignorant, and racist person who, as many insecure people do, want to be “different” and “special.”

      • geekychick says:

        Southeastern European here-Slavic. Just poped in to say that even today, most people on for example, enlightened Jezebel will say that Eastern European people (Slavic people) are not white. I couldn’t believe when I’ve seen it, mainly because all my life I’ve never heard that Slavic people or Arabic people aren’t white.

      • jenn12 says:

        Jews were never considered white, and how different they are had many regarding them as freakish. Since Jews often appeared Mediterranean and there are a large number of Black Jews, I often thought this was part of the usual racism. With that said, the author is brilliant and so is the article, and I hope that sends this cesspool of a person back into the shadows. She is white privilege at its most disgusting: lecturing people on their own culture, enraged when challenged on her BS, and stealing an entire culture’s identity as though it’s a dress she can put on. She’s an adult version of someone like the Cash Me Outside girl, trying to pretend she’s street.

      • Zee says:

        @geekychick I have never heard of Slavic/Eastern Europeans being called anything other than white. That’s so, so weird. Maybe Dolezal gets her idea that she’s black from that then; she is of Czech/Slavic decent, I think.

      • Geekychick says:

        Trust me, I couldn’t believe it until someone there commented how Kardashian isn’t white, and majority agreed. I commented how Kim Kardashian is actually the definition of whiteness, considering Armenia is situated on and around Kavkaz and the term for white is Caucassian, actually derived from the name of the mountain! People commented with something akin to:”hahahaha, now you’ll tell me that Eastern Europeans are white!!”.
        in our lowly, SE schools black people are from Africa and America(s), Asians are from Asia and whites are Europe, Middle East, North Africa… Race is taught during one or two hours in elementary school, but it is taught wothout any and all context. Discussions about racism and so on come later during education, but I’ve always been taught just the physical part and it was always meant as just that: it’s looks and nothing else, not a sign what kind of person you are. For example, I’ve never ever considered Jews/Israelis as anything other than white. What else would Israelis or Palestinians be?
        Idk, I think that race is actually defined by (historical) class in USA, at least it seemed to me as an outsider visiting usa.

      • zee says:

        @geekychick Wow. I’m genuinely surprised. It must be a very American way of thinking. I’m Singaporean and here, generally speaking, Arabs/Israelis/Iranians/etc. are considered white. And, of course, those from the Kavkaz region would definitely be considered white. It wouldn’t even be up for debate that the Kardashians are anything other than white, just as it would be ridiculous for me to be called anything other than Asian.

        It’s weird how US usage tends to overrule or disregard any different worldwide beliefs. I know that the US has a very touchy history regarding race, but it seems almost as if other countries ideas and norms, not just homogenous countries but also those that are diverse and have their own specific histories and understandings of race/society/etc. are being overwritten by ‘the American way’. It’s quite fascinating in a disturbing way.

      • Kath says:

        @zee – totally agree with you. I find it strange that Americans think their racial categorisations are the last word on the subject. Here in Australia, the groups you mention are also considered ‘white’, as are people with Hispanic heritage etc. It’s a much broader and more inclusive category.

        America’s concept of race is very different to many other parts of the world.

        In the same way, I’ve always found it amusing that Europe (particularly the UK) defines certain parts of the world solely in relation to themselves (Near East, Far East, Subcontinent, Antipodes etc.).

        When I lived in the UK, I always thought it weird that Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis were collectively referred to as ‘Asians’, which is a word we would generally associate with East and South East Asia. When asked what I could call these people, I suggested “Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi”!

        Oh, and Rachel Dolezal is a patronising arsehole and I totally love Ijeoma Oluo’s article.

      • WTW says:

        @Zee @Kath, The US government does categorize people of Arabic heritage as white. The Kardashians would be considered white as well. However, there are people who are viewed as “white ethnics.” Eastern and South Europeans would fall into this category. The Eugenics movement was strong here and pretty much valued white Anglo-Saxon Protestants over everyone else. That’s why Poles, Slavs, Italians, Greeks tend to be viewed as “white ethnics.” These groups have historically faced discrimination in the US and some people might still see them as “other” to an extent. Armenians like the Kardashians routinely face prejudice in Southern California, where they are largest in number in the US.
        Hispanics can be of any race but have also been classified as white, even though this ignores the Native American and African roots many Latinos have. Would you consider George Lopez to be white? How about Zoe Saldana? I don’t know any continent on the planet where they would be. That’s why it’s not cool to suggest that white should be the Hispanic default category.

      • Kath says:

        @WTW. Fair enough. I guess by ‘Hispanic’, I meant those people with Spanish or Portuguese ancestry, not necessarily encompassing everyone from Latin America – so I get your point!

        I guess my issue was that other countries often define people more by their background and where they’re from, than actual ‘race’. It guess your perspective depends on whatever history/geography you come from – but my issue (and that of Zee) is that racial categorisation of so-called ‘types’ is a lot more prevalent in America than in many other parts of the world. Here, I would say it’s more categorised by Indigenous/colonial/migrant background – and by language, accent etc. – but after a generation or two – unless you are an original inhabitant (i.e. Aboriginal) – it all gets a bit blurry.

        For example, my father was Polish, but if someone was to refer to me as ‘white ethnic’ I would laugh my head off.

    • Aren says:

      No.
      You can classify things using different biological criteria, but that doesn’t mean those “differences” are biological.

    • AreYouForReal? says:

      I’m a little confused by all the people saying that race is “strictly” a social construct. We have eyes and can see the differences in different groups of people. What is that actually then? If it is not “biology” what is it? I understand that we have NOW (or maybe always) chosen to label one group of people better (more privileged?) than others and that whiteness has become a badge of honor to the exclusion of all else, so that historically, society has tried to define whiteness to keep the “undeserving” out (i.e. the one drop rule). But how do you address physical differences? Any science-minded individuals in the thread who can explain it to me?

      • KJA says:

        Biological Anthropologist here

        I covered part of this above so apologies I’m repeating myself. As humans we can be quite visual so from that perspective it makes sense to group us based on something like skin colour etc. While that in itself is a biological trait-grouping is into races such as black, white etc is the social construct. For example I’m of East African ancestry. Within the construct of race I would be black, as would someone who’s West African. We share a similar biological trait, however within Africa, there is so much genetic variation. Therefore picking out one superficial shared trait as a way of grouping us, as if that outweighs all the genetic differences-that is the social construct of race. It is not a meaningful way of trying to understand human diversity. One trait was essentially picked and held above all others in an entirely arbitrary way to classify people.

      • sunnydaze says:

        KJA and Jay – I never thought about it in this way before – what an arbitrary feature to pick out to separate into “race” – why skin? Indeed, why not eye color, hair color, detached/attached earlobes, “innie/outties”? Why this specific trait that is far less objective than any of the others I listed (from Jay’s post below)? Is there an argument to be made for/against subspecies of homo sapiens?

        @KJA, would you be able to pass along some resources? I feel like I need some reading material as I do not expect you to begin to break down such a complicated subject. Also, please note no offense will be taken for corrections on my extremely novice understanding of genetics/anthropology/etc. Just be gentle haha.

      • KJA says:

        @sunnydaze

        There’s a lot of back and forth-but the main argument against races being any form of subspecies is that the general criteria to determine subspecies in animals don’t apply to human ‘races’. This from my memory of a book I read so take what I say with caution though. While ‘races’ can be seen as geographical variations of the same specifies, which is what subspecies are generally-there’s too many similarities between the races for any distinct biological subspecies to be determined. At the very least 75% of one subspecies has to be distinguishable from 100% of the other subspecies-there’s too much overlap and the actual variations within any supposed human subspecies is so vast that accurately determining where one begins and ends is incredibly difficulty.

        For resources there’s ‘The Human Species, an Introduction to Biological Anthropology’ by Relethford which is a good starting point. Unsure how easy this is to find though-uni libraries should have it and there might be some chapters online?

        There’s also ‘Forensic Anthropology and the Concept of Race: If race doesn’t exist, why are forensic anthropologists good at identifying them’ by Sauer. This one gives you both sides of the argument but ultimately argues that race is a social construct. This one is a journal article so might be easier to find. If you find it interesting I would recommend chasing Sauer’s references for more articles!

        Hope that helps!

      • Kath says:

        @AreYouForReal? There is a reason Richard Dawkins made t-shirts with the statement “We are all Africans” on it. Genetically speaking, we ARE. Europeans, Asians, Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians etc. are all descendants of the populations that exited Africa around 2,000 generations ago. Consequently, there is much more genetic diversity among the people who stayed (present-day Africans) than there is between the rest of us.

        Eye colour, hair colour and the amount of melanin you have in your skin are fairly recent developments (as recently as 10,000 years ago) that have occurred in relation to the environments people found themselves in (i.e. inability to absorb enough Vitamin D in Northern Europe with darker skin) and also things like diet.

        So, yes, the biological basis/physical features that supposedly distinguish ‘race’ are complete bollocks.

        That doesn’t mean that racism doesn’t exist. It certainly does and has been used as a vehicle by stupid people over many hundreds of years to privilege some groups over others.

        Ditto, the idea that there is a biological (or ‘racial’) explanation for intelligence is truly ludicrous and is promoted by dickheads who don’t understand how DNA works. Once again, there is more genetic diversity among Africans than the rest of us put together!

      • Sunnydaze says:

        @KJA thanks so much! I have access to a uni so this shouldn’t be too hard a task!

    • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

      The physical features which are considered relevant to distinguish race are arbitrary. Why are detached and attached earlobes not considered racial markers? Eye colour or hair colour? Why are tabby cats and black cats not considered a distinct race? The things that make two dog breeds distinct are as vastly different as human vs. gorilla, not something as subtle as, say, skin tone. We draw the distinction in humans alone and on things that are relatively minor and arbitrary.

      • Annetommy says:

        Sorry Jay, but all breeds of dog from Chihuahuas to Great Danes are the same species, Canis Familiaris. Humans and gorilla are not the same species. All humans are of course the same species.

      • Pumpkin Pie says:

        Distinguishing races according to physical features WAS not arbitrary. It’s 2017 now so we should not interpret race through a 2017 lens, but go back and consider, as objectively as possible, the criteria used by those who had put forward different biological races issues. The most obvious one referred different physical features, including skin color, inherent to populations inhabiting certain parts of the world, during colonial times. It happened, but that’s not the point of discussion. We cannot blame the people in the past of working (I dont want to be part of academic arguments) with the knowledge they had at that time, which was A LOT at that time, and should not compare what they had learnt to the knowledge we have now. If anything, we would not have this exchange of ideas. Yes, populations had different colors and different physical features compared to point of reference established and promoted by caucasians, because they also had the means to put knowledge in writing and disseminate it to a critical extent.

      • MinnFinn says:

        @Jay

        The physical features for defining race were not arbitrary. Skin color was used because it is the most noticeable physical feature. Eye color or detached earlobes are not nearly as noticeable as skin color because those can only be determined by very close proximity.

        But it’s important to note that the idea/definition of “race” was based on a much earlier way of categorizing people by the 4 broad skin colors of red, white, black, and yellow.

        You can google theories about why we humans are compelled to sort and categorize everyone. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

      • KJA says:

        @Pumpkin Pie

        I don’t think I understand what you’re arguing here? Race was no more of a biological reality in the past than it is now, just because they understood it to be so with the resources they had. And the traits used were still arbitrary. They had an idea in the past, and because we now have more knowledge-we now know better. Ideas are disapproved all the time. Also, you can’t remove the influence of colonialism and social attitudes of the time from discussions of race because those issues were always integral to why a lot of this classifications were created.

    • Radley says:

      99.9% of our DNA is the same. Race is much more a societal construct than a biological one and your comment is evidence of that.

      • chermcherm says:

        I feel like I’m pointing out what so many other people have pointed out, but people are confusing race with skin color. Skin color is not made up, but the concept of race is. There are areas of the world outside of Africa where people have incredibly dark skin and they are not ethnically similar to Africans, they’re actually more ethnically similar to Asians or europeans. And like previously stated, Africa is so incredibly diverse that one group of people a mile away from another might have more genetic diversity between them than two different people in norway and italy. Race was just a “good” way for people to “otherize” people. It can seem biological because it has been so ingrained in our culture unfortunately, but race isn’t based in any science. This why people get in arguments about race, there are so many skin colors it’s impossible to draw a line. Doesn’t mean that this white supremacist gets to literally colonize the black experience though.

      • WTW says:

        @chermcherm Yes, you’re getting at what I learned in anthropological biology in college. The problem with race is that scientists don’t know where one group ends and another begins. Skin tones, hair textures and colors, eye shapes, etc. overlap between races. Aboriginals can have dark skin and blonde hair. Sub-Saharan Africans can have “Asiatic” eyes and so forth. There is a range of skin tones even among sub-Saharan Africans, and Egyptians can’t be classified as sub-Saharan or European. Where do we say whiteness ends and Asian or African begins? Scientists can’t neatly put people into categories because there are not only genetic differences within groups but similarities between people of supposedly different racial groups.

    • demented says:

      There’s one slight problem with what you’re saying: that some races have shifted over the centuries according to social, not scientific, standards. For instance, Italian-Americans are considered white now. A few centuries ago? BLACK.

  4. HH says:

    This is the end-all-be-all of any peice dealing with Dolezal. I’ve actively avoided her until this article and it did not disappoint. Now, back to ignoring her.

  5. Nicole says:

    Of course it’s peak whiteness. The fact that a white woman watched tv and now knows more than those of us that has LIVED the reality of being black in America is the definition of white privilege.

    I read this article when it came out and it’s a great read. After that I can ignore this sorry excuse for a woman once again.

  6. Onerous says:

    I had a girl I know ask how a person who genuinely feels like they are a race other than the one they were born with is any different than a transgender person. And it gave me pause. Aside from Rachel Dolezol, if a person feels they were born the wrong race… what do we do with that? When is it something other than appropriation? Is it ever?

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      No. Unequivocally no. Because this is a white thing. What will happen if a black or Asian person decides to be white? Do they get a book deal? No. They will be laughed out of the room. This isn’t an identity problem. It’s an attention seeking problem. As I said above, she doesn’t think she’s black. She thinks she’s better.

    • Missy says:

      It’s a tough argument. I admit I’m behind on this gender argument, I grew up with someone named Tiffany, who’s now Troy…if I had met Troy later in life I never would’ve known that he was born a girl. Yet, I still don’t understand it, I’ve read up on it and talked to him a lot…and I still feel like I just don’t get it, I probably never will. I think this race thing is different though…I mean, it’s seems possible that some genetic mix up while in the womb could lead to this gender confusion. You’re gender isn’t determined until the fetus is so many weeks old, some people are born with both. Race is completely different, it depends on what your mother and father are..it’s not something you choose. I think Rachel dolezol is mentally ill in some way.

    • Beth says:

      I think in the end people are people. It’s like the ridiculousness of someone being told they act too white/black/hispanic etc. They act like a human. They like what they like. We all have lived and cultural and inherited experiences that may or may not correspond with our race. I think you can appreciate and adopt cultural ideals and practices of another race but at the same time must recognize that you will never have the inherited/ancestral experience.

    • Nicole says:

      because race and gender are not the same thing? Because gender norms are taught? Because biological sex is not the same as gender? Because minorities would never “pass” as a different race successfully. This is some white privilege crap and I’m over the “but what about transgender” argument.

      • Annetommy says:

        Minorities have certainly “passed”. A book “A Chosen Exile” was published about black people “passing” as white. I don’t think my point adds much to the discussion other than to clarify the fact.

      • BJ says:

        The black people who “passed” as white were mixed race, they had “white” blood.This lady’s white parents have confirmed she is not mixed race.She is a white woman who has the white privilege of being able to say she is black.A fair skinned white woman with straight fine hair who uses makeup and hair weave to appear black.How many black people, who are as dark skinned as she was fair skinned ,get to say they are White?

      • Annetommy says:

        I’m not defending this woman BJ. I am pointing out – in response to a specific comment that minorities would never pass – there has been passing, whether by people that are black or “mixed race”. They had their own reasons, which were rooted in the oppression and stigma that being black involved. Dolezal’s behaviour seems bizarre and is obviously not motivated by that.

      • demented says:

        Merle Oberon begs to differ. So does Carol Channing.

    • Flufff says:

      Genuinely, is there a single other case of someone declaring themselves “transracial” apart from Dolezal, who is a known scammer who lied about a whole host of things including faking cancer, and only started her “black on the inside” thing in her late 20s after suing for anti-white discrimination?

      There are millions of trans* people; they are a reognised minority group who are subject to extreme discrimination and abuse. There’s a whole history of how power structures and privilege is created and disseminated at play.

      Trans* people generally undergo hormonal treatments at the least, if not actual gender reassignment surgery; they cannot simply wake up in the morning and decide to present as their birth gender if they feel like enjoying male and cis privilege if they feel like it. Dolezal can enjoy white privilege anytime she likes by wiping off the makeup.

      Plus you know trans* people either want to live quietly in their chosen gender, or are activists for being trans. I’ve never, ever heard of a transwoman person creating an elaborate hoax in order to pretend they are a cisgender woman, instructing their families to lie that they were born female, all in order to earn money as a “woman expert” — and then insist they are genuinely ciswoman when exposed and that they know more about being biological women than actual women.

      • demented says:

        On the other hand, if a person did declare themselves anything but what society deems them… who’d accept it? Even people who refuse to do that with their OWN ethnicities are treated horribly. I knew a girl who was part black, part Asian, and she was harassed and jeered at for refusing to just call herself “black.”

    • Aren says:

      We’re going to have to wait until it happens. Wait for somebody to genuinely identify themselves more with the traits and characteristic of a race different from theirs.

    • Pandy says:

      That is an interesting point/argument. Some food for thought.

    • sunnydaze says:

      I have to say, this came up in an earlier post and the responses were….strained.

      It’s tricky. On one end I can see how this argument is extremely tiresome and offensive to folks, and beyond infuriating to address over and over. On the other hand, it *is* a question that keeps coming up – for better or worse – so clearly people still don’t understand. I appreciate those folks who are invested enough to try and educate others despite how exhausting it gets. This might be the only space people feel “safe” enough asking the question where others might never ask at all, thereby perpetuating the false notion that transgender is the same as “transracial”.

      I always try to “assume best intention” when someone asks a question that I feel has been explained over and over – sometimes to the point it feels like they must be willfully ignorant, and I have neither the time nor the will to explain it yet again. They should know. But then I try to step back and remind myself the question may be infuriatingly familiar, but the person asking it is not. In my line of work I’m constantly trying to correct false information deeply rooted in moral judgment, and it gets very, very old when I feel like I have to step in and say something when a conversation goes off the rails. But people have to get their information from somewhere, and maybe there is someone out there reading these comments leaving with a much greater understanding of issues they’ve never dealt with before. Better they receive the education here than from their racist family members. There is certainly no lack of extremely intelligent and diverse folks here. Perhaps they will then be the ones to correct false information at the next cocktail hour, the next family gathering, the next PTA meeting. Education can be contagious (sometimes).

      I might just be wildly optimistic because it’s Friday, but a big thank you to those individuals on here willing to take time out of their day to address this issue for what is probably the millionth time, calling on their own lived experiences and providing invaluable information. Keep fighting the good fight.

      • Anners says:

        THank you sunnydaze! I really believe some of us just don’t realize that we are being tiresomely repetitive as these are not conversations we’re having in every day life and we’d like to become educated on the topic. Thanks for taking the time to respond as well as believing the best in people – it’s a rare gift these days.

    • MinnFinn says:

      @ Onerous 8:51
      There is no logical comparison between transgender and transrace. The comparison is akin to apples versus unicorns. Apples exist. Unicorns and race do not exist. Dolezal might as well claim she is transunicorn.

      Transgender may be partially caused by a combination of in utero hormones and how they influence the chromosomes that define sex (XX vs XY).

      There are no chromosomes, hormones or DNA that cause one to be a certain race because again, race does not exist.

      Dolezal is engaging in highly offensive painted-face cosplay.

      Dolezal’s claim that transrace is genuine needs to be isolated and refuted. Her white privilege or how she deigns to lecture black people about their culture is important. But refuting transrace while at the same time explaining her white privilege confuses some people which means they do not come away with a clear understanding as to why transgender is a false concept.

  7. Barbcat says:

    It is like the gender argument. Race and gender are determined by your genes, you can’t pick and choose. Don’t fight science folks! I think this woman is mentally ill.

  8. littlemissnaughty says:

    That is beautifully written and so on point. This woman is an a**hole. She doesn’t want to be black. She wants to be the better black. She wants to invent a blackness that she approves of. I’d love to inform her that the notion of “a**hole” definitely isn’t a social construct. We can ALL agree that she is definitely that. So there. Identity crap solved. Also, her hair. Girl, that is not the hair for that face.

  9. Luca76 says:

    Brilliant-but I still believe there’s also some mental illness there. Anyone see ‘The woman who wasn’t there’? It’s a documentary about an aristocratic European woman who pretended to be a 911 survivor to the point that she was getting awarded by the Governor and Mayor of NY and was the president of survivors groups and was lecturing and bullying actual 911 survivors. She totally reminds me of Dolezal.

  10. ElleBee says:

    I don’t know how I would have been able to interview her without lunging across the room and punching her.

    I have 0 patience for this level of buffoonery. Whenever she gets tired she can go back to her whiteness and the privilege that comes with it and THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE. Black people are black all of the time…there isn’t an escape (we don’t need one, blackness is awesome). At any point she can just go back to being white because race IS a social construct that favours one race in particular. Her thinking that she is better at being black and more knowledgeable than actual black people is PEAK WHITENESS.

    Go away Rachel.

  11. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    To answer your question: Yes, she does. She can take off that bronzer and that cheap wig. any real prejudice she has experienced while dressed like a buffoon can be erased by a shower and a trip to the hairdresser. She can pick and choose the parts of blackness that work best for her and leave all the bad stuff behind. She can’t ever know what it is to drive while black or walk while black while in a department store, or even going to school while black. black people can’t scrub the black off (no matter how much bleach we put on our skin or makeup we cake on), to make it easier to deal with cops, banks, and other traditionally racially slanted institutions. she still has a way out (and always will) from real oppression and racism) black people cannot escape our skin and the stigma that comes with it. White people can’t identify as another race because they relate to some limited, superficial perception of that identity. It does not work that way and never will. Not on my watch it won’t.

    Her idea of being black is based on an outsider’s view of being black. She is literally making it up as she goes along like a master fraudster. Everything about her is based on stereotypes about black women not real black women. You can never mimic the nuances that make up being black.

    I am out of here before all those people from the last thread show up in here trying to give credence to this narcissist by discrediting transgender people. That post was wild and disgusting.

    • Laughy saphy says:

      It’s already happening. The transphobic comments that posts about this woman inspire are disgusting, and frankly, are a false equivalency.

    • Marlena says:

      I wholeheartily agree with all of this.
      Infact, I think that in this particular case all we white women should listen to our sisters of color and refrain from judging this situation because just like Dolezal’s ideas of blackness, it would come from a point of white privilege and supremacy.
      And please do not ever compare this fraudster’s situation with transgenders- it will say more about you and your lack of empathy than you are aware of.

    • third ginger says:

      I see what you mean. I try my best to be a good ally for my little girl who is gay. Transphobia and hatred for the LGBT community are alive and well, thanks in part to the election disaster. I was on a political site this morning and a frightening number of posters suggested that if Democrats did not mention LGBT people so much, they would win more. God help us!

  12. msw says:

    I…. what…. if race is “JUST” a social construct, why in the hell did she literally focus her life around an appropriated racial identity? I just can’t. I don’t even understand how her brain does not blow up from all the cognitive gymnastics going on here.

  13. grabbyhands says:

    We have indeed reached peak whiteness in the bizarro, twisted reality that is now life.

    A white woman, who once sued Howard University, a historical black college, for discriminating against her for being white, insists that she is now black, that race is a simple social construct and lectures a black woman on how to be a better black person.

    So basically, white people are not only better than black people, they’re better at BEING black people than actual black people? I’m sure there is some place lower than this for us to go, but this is still an impressive low for white people to hit.

  14. msw says:

    This is so true: “It is a bit extreme, but it is in no way new for white people to take what they want from other cultures in the name of love and respect, while distorting or discarding the remainder of that culture for their comfort.”

    This is NOT true: “Dolezal is simply a white woman who cannot help but center herself in all that she does—including her fight for racial justice.” Absolutely not. White women are not helpless against the tide. We need to take ownership of this wave of white supremacy, and quick, because it is completely inappropriate (and embarrassing). At least people are talking about it now, thanks in part to doofuses like her.

  15. Chelly says:

    I saw the interview she had w Dr. Phil (not the greatest source) but omg, she is the master of deflection. She takes no ownership or responsibility for anything at all, zero. “Race is a social construct” which shes says a million times when she’s cornered into admitting she duped people into perceiving her one way w/o ever informing them of anything else. She’s a con artist & like most cons she will play the victim card every single time bc nothing is her fault…..it’s circumstance & societys fault. Girl, w/e. I love this piece, this writer nailed it

  16. Gene123 says:

    The whole article was amazing and perfectly captured Dolezal. One part that really stood out to me was when Oluo was discussing how white Dolezal looked in person. She then goes on to realize that the only reason Dolezal was able to “pull it off” was because Spokane has such a small black population. In NYC or any other big city, no one would’ve bought it. She just managed to look “exotic” in an area without a lot of diversity (no hate towards Spokane)

    Seriously, the whole article was phenomenal. Oluo has an amazing way of writing where its brilliant and educational but you still feel like she’s just chatting or thinking out loud to you. Also the ending where Dolezal accused her of trying to put her in the better lighting so she would “look more white” ugh

  17. tracking says:

    I’ll admit initially I felt compassion for this woman–I thought she does seem to truly love black culture and want to *be* black–who’s to say she can’t be whatever she chooses to be? (a la the transgender arguments cited). Then I read more, including this wonderful article, and can now clearly see the extent to which this is all a function of white privilege. It’s so strange and unbelievable to me that, as a woman who wants to be a member of the black community, and who has now had the opportunity to become thoroughly educated on this issue, she’s willfully obtuse about how her actions are harmful and hurtful to them.

    • pinetree13 says:

      This has been my learning arc as well

    • detritus says:

      ditto ladies.
      I mean its hard to hear she wanted to be black because the only people who were good to her and her siblings were black. her white parents abused her and her sibling, and there was a whole mess in her history.

      Which explains what’s going on, but hell, woman, how can you miss the point so much?

      If she was truly black history scholar there is no way she would be unfamiliar with John Howard Griffin, who dressed as a black man to try to understand what it was like.

      His final thought? That he would never truly understand the experience, because in the depths of his despair over his treatment, he knew he could take that costume off.

    • demented says:

      But what does she actually know about black culture? And personally, I would never assume she’s telling the truth about abuse and stuff, because she’s lied too many times.

  18. Pandy says:

    Peak whiteness? This woman is mentally ill in any skin colour.

  19. LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

    I love this. I said it in the last post, the only illness I’m seeing here is Major White Entitlement Disorder. While on the subject of white entitlement, can we talk about the white women (here & elsewhere) who’ve been arguing that she has a right to be Black if she wants to? Who are you? Who gave YOU the clearance to be the authority on anything relating to Blackness? Is Black identity yours to give away?

  20. krAkken says:

    She is the female J-Roc.
    Know what I’m sayn?

  21. Green Is Good says:

    Rachel is an epic, hardcore Grifter.

  22. DavidBowie says:

    I’m SO glad Ijeoma Oluo had someone, the photographer, with her at this interview. Otherwise, she might not have been heard from again.

  23. Insomniac says:

    OK. The author of this piece wrote a pretty concise, well-reasoned response to all the inevitable attempts to denigrate trans people by comparing them to Dolezal and implying that if we support trans people, we should support Dolezal too. Here’s the link, if you’re interested. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10154292341352676&id=616977675

  24. QQ says:

    To Sister Ijeoma Oluo Be the GLORY for finally holding a mirror to yall in this Foolishness, this is what Black Real Black Our name gets made fun of Black Women TRIED AND TRIED telling you, Someone on twitter said NOW that a sister did it The Ghost is vanquished and we don’t have to keep explaining or telling you all that she wasn’t “biracial” looking or transracial, and how such a bullsh*t reach ONLY amply demonstrates the point of White Work, and how creepy and vapid and pressed for attention this Dusty ass Bird is

    • Desi says:

      I think where Oluo really nails it here is in laying bare Dolezal’s barely disguised contempt for the black “experience” she’s so casually appropriated as her own. I haven’t seen anyone else do that, really go for it and wave that big ol’ WE SEE YOU sign right up in her face.

      So many people, mostly whites, are tempted – or even outright willing – to write her off as a misguided but well-intentioned, basically harmless nutcase who didn’t get enough hugs growing up, or something. Plenty of posts here, even, dismiss her as 47 different kinds of crazy.

      She’s not. She knows exactly what she’s doing, and saying otherwise diminishes what a terrible person she is.

  25. Aren says:

    “I think Oluo has unlocked the puzzle of Rachel Dolezal.”
    Which would have happened much sooner if the media had asked a scientist (of the social kind) for help, instead of just rambling about why this was okay and how it’s the same than being transgendered.

  26. Desi says:

    I can’t seem to get past the fact that this woman taught college-level black history without a degree in even AMERICAN history, let alone black or African history. It’s just … stunning .. to me.

    Oluo should have asked Dolezal about that time she sued Howard University for discriminating against her for being white.

    She’s got some balls on her, I’ll give her that. SMH

  27. giulia says:

    Meh. Not a particular fan of Oluo, especially here where her animus toward Dolezal is in full flow even before she sits down to interview her. The dream dolezal interview to me would be with adolph reed, if he deigned to do such things.

    • giulia says:

      One of the things I take issue with in this piece is that it s not in fact an interview. The reader can hardly find dolezal in it because olu subject is really her own outrage rather than having anything like a real exchange. Thus we learn nothing new or gain any insight, nor are we meant to. Im too old to be fooled by this kind of stuff and dolezal is too unimportant. Why so many are angry and scared by her is the subject that interests me here.

  28. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    She could learn something if she dropped the defensive attitude and actually listened to why her behavior is offensive.

    This interview had to be excruciating for the author.

    The article didn’t feel very long. Good read.

  29. seesittellsit says:

    Emotional ties to identification that fly in the face of the “obvious” are I think evidence of a way of channeling or evading other problems in the psyche. Here is a bit of personal history: I started my nonprofit career in a women’s justice organization that eventually had to fire a woman for sexually harassing another woman. The harasser, who was married to a man, insisted she wasn’t gay and that everyone, including the harassee, had “misinterpreted” her actions.

    I was a warm colleague of the woman who was fired, and liked her, and missed every single clue going on around me until the word came out formally. The experience made me realize how complicated people are, how much in denial they can be about what is going on inside them because it is so painful.

    It is one reason I am less judgmental than many others about Trump supporters. I’m not happy about the way the election turned out, but I’ve seen enough now to know that the human psyche is a very complicated place, and most humans will do anything to avoid direct confrontation with particular sorts of psychic pain.

    This woman’s way of dealing with herself intersects with the broader topic of race because that is how she has chosen to construct her defense against whatever it is that she is avoiding or coping with. But I do not believe that psychologically it really is about race.

    And that’s all I’m going to say.

  30. Margo S. says:

    What an amazing perspective. When she wrote that rachel feels entitled to adopt being black… woah. So simple, so true, so wrong. Well done.

  31. Zeddy says:

    No, I think the election of donald trump and other fascist groups across the world represent peak white supremacy, not some nobody from nowhere.

  32. WTF says:

    Who is this woman Ijeoma?!?! I love her. I love her. I love her. That is all.

  33. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    Great article but the Celebitchy headline’s answer is “no”… the article itself makes the case that this is the same old story just presented a new way.

  34. HK9 says:

    Where are all Rachel’s childhood friends who saw her colour herself in ‘brown’ throughout her life? She’s got like 4-5 siblings. Can none of them validate her “struggle”? Where is the friend(s) that she confided in regarding her identity? You mean to tell me she feels like she was born the wrong race and she never sought out people who were like herself? You know why? It’s because there aren’t any. She’s a mentally ill charlatan who believes her own story.

    Imma wait for the psychiatrists for figure this one out but as for me, I’ll never be drawing the parallel that she’s similar to Transgendered people. As a black woman, I’ve not walked in a Transgendered person’s shoes, but I empathize and respect their journey too much to include Rachel.

  35. The Original G says:

    Nah. She’s nuts. the only think this is an example of is how a person like this can get some attention is there’s some $$$ to be made off this.

  36. Nan says:

    Rachel Dolezal is crackers-nutty (how dare anyone call her out – why, she was nothing but a po’ white child until being Black saved her!). It’s stunning how little sense she has of the pain she causes others and how deep her self-deludedness goes.

  37. Bobi says:

    The evil of Capitalism?

    Capitalism is the reason why such writers, who were fortunate enough to attend University during a time when it was somewhat reasonable, are not paid minimum wage, and do not have to shell out a quarter of their (already miniscule) paycheck for not being able to afford healthcare.

    But yeah, down with Capitalism! Let the generations younger than you be forced into an ideology that is essentially slavery. As if that doesn’t already exist.

    • thaliasghost says:

      Reasonable university? What is that?

      But lol. Because a living wage and healthcare have been brought to us by unbridled free market neoliberal Manchester capitalism? Or maybe by unions and proto socialist types of governments? Oh and for-profit healthcare …yeah that is working so well for the thousands of people dying of perfectly curable issues for lack of money.

      What is this comment?

    • JackieJormpJomp says:

      Author wasn’t saying capitalism was evil, but making a passing reference to the fact that there are evils associated with capitalism.

      Chill your Paul Ryan-loving ass out.

  38. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    I don’t believe the NAACP thinks race is just a social construct and doesn’t actually exist. How much did she lie to get that job?

  39. jwoolman says:

    Oluo makes considerable sense.

    Dolezal is an oddity who only represents herself… She really is weird and extraordinarily self-centered. She should be a Trump adviser on race relations, don’t you think? Would fit in with the rest of his appointments. (When two narcissists meet, do they explode?)

    She doesn’t have to be black to focus on American racial history and sociology, any more than I have to be Italian to have an addiction to Vivaldi (gotta love somebody whose stuff is listed on the music as playable on a hurdy-gurdy). My friend without a drop of Irish blood is fascinated by Celtic music. The first African American Studies professor I ever met was pale white, that wasn’t an obstacle (he got the department to darken up as it grew). My English Literature professor certainly wasn’t at all English. I know a Chinese history specialist who isn’t anywhere close to Chinese. People are not confined to their own ethnicities in choosing what to study and teach.

    Likewise, being non-black doesn’t prevent you from focusing on relevant issues that mainly affect African Americans in your political activism or other endeavors. I’ve done some work on farmers’ issues and I was 19 years old before I ever saw a cow up close. I am not a country person by any measure (achoo). We’re all in this together and just do what we can when we can, and all our issues tend to be interrelated in one way or another. American racism in particular is also a “white” issue in a very real sense, both on the past and in the present.

    So this woman definitely didn’t need to become black in order to specialize in African-American history and culture and current situations or to work on issues especially affecting African Americans. Something else was going on in her head.

  40. Jb says:

    That article nailed it. Exactly is the pinnacle of white privledge. Author is amazing. Loved her treatment of the name change too.

  41. Otaku Fairy says:

    “…For someone who claims to love blackness, Rachel Dolezal has little more than contempt for many black people and their own black identities. This dismissive and condescending attitude toward any black people who see blackness differently than she does is woven throughout her comments in our conversation. It is not just our pettiness, it is also our lack of education that is preventing us from getting on Dolezal’s level of racial understanding. She informs me multiple times that black people have rejected her because they simply haven’t learned yet that race is a social construct created by white supremacists, they simply don’t know any better and don’t want to: “I’ve done my research, I think a lot of people, though, haven’t probably read those books and maybe never will… A lot of things in our society are social constructs—money, for example—but the impact they have on our lives, and the rules by which they operate, are very real. I cannot undo the evils of capitalism simply by pretending to be a millionaire… It is white supremacy that told her that any black people who questioned her were obviously uneducated and unmotivated to rise to her level of wokeness… Dolezal is simply a white woman who cannot help but center herself in all that she does—including her fight for racial justice. And if racial justice doesn’t center her, she will redefine race itself in order to make that happen. It is a bit extreme, but it is in no way new for white people to take what they want from other cultures in the name of love and respect, while distorting or discarding the remainder of that culture for their comfort.” This was excellent. This, combined by the fact that Rachel Dolezal knows she’s white and has been willing to manipulatively use that to her advantage when it suited her- is what people need to remember. (Hopefully the TERFS and conservatives- wait, what’s the difference- who showed up on the last thread will stop using her as a tool for their prejudices, but probably not.)

  42. diamondRottweiler says:

    I just have to point out that Kaiser, and the community who comes here to comment on Celebitchy, are more thoughtful and articulate than the vast majority of what I read on Politico, Real Clear Politics, etc., and these outlets’ reader commentary. I really value this space and the people in it. What a wonderful thing Celebitchy is!

    • third ginger says:

      I did not see your comment until this morning. Thank you. I go on POLITICO because I am a politics junkie. I am horrified by the comments. I thought I was going to see discussions like the ones we had on this thread, but it’s all name calling , and as far as I can tell, male dominated. Nothing against men, been married to one for 35 years!

  43. Nibbi says:

    i still don’t know what to make of her.

    i disagree, though, that her taking-on of a black identity was done “casually,” as Kaiser says. this woman seems to have done the whole thing hook, line, and sinker, doing studies, making it her profession, her look, the hair-braiding thing… think what you will of her motivations, ie, i’m not really saying it’s okay or that all of the controversy is unwarranted, but she undertook this whole thing with utter seriousness, made it her life, and would still be “flying undercover” and seen as black if her parents hadn’t outed her.

    mostly when i look at her i see someone who had an unimaginably crappy childhood and early family life which, er, kinda messed her up.

  44. robyn says:

    She says she connected with the “black experience” since she could remember apparently. She felt she had some kind of affinity for what this was and had insight she wanted to offer. I guess a lot of people feel that way but why go on and lie about her own “blackness”. Either it’s a mental illness or she painted herself into a difficult corner and now can’t paint herself out. She seems to be twisting herself into a pretzel trying to justify what she did instead of fully owning her grave mistake. Her lie is a rotting foundation for her contemplation of what it’s like to be black in an America that still votes for people like Donald Trump and Sessions. The evidence of racism pours inadvertently from their mouths.

  45. jill says:

    Is she also adopting that her age is 39. Cause she looks mid 40s

  46. PrincessK says:

    I can’t understand why people are so upset about this woman, if she wants to be ‘black’ so what, lots of ‘black’ people want to be ‘white’ and live lives successfully as such. Some people are born male and want to be female and vice versa. Some people feel that they have more affinity with other cultures rather than the one they were born into. I had an English friend who was crazy about Japan, she went completely over board about everything Japanese, clothes , food , art , language, interior decor and lived it all on a daily basis. Life is short, what harm is she doing?? Her children are mixed race anyway. Her only crime possibly was to tell a lie. But we are ALL originally from Africa anyway so maybe she is correct to say she has African heritage because she does have African heritage as we all have.

    • PrincessK says:

      I think people are making far too much fuss about all this.

    • Desi says:

      I’d love to hear about some of those “black people” who “want to be white and live lives successfully as such.”

      All I need to know about Rachel Dolezal – all anyone needs to know about her, really – is that she’s a liar.

      Ever the victim looking for a victimizer, her scam wouldn’t have even been unmasked (at least not then, though plenty of people did have their doubts and suspicions about her) if she hadn’t made false hate crime reports to the police.

      Spend some time reading about American’s shameful “one drop” laws – some still being enforced barely 20 years ago – and you’ll start to see the problem with the tone deaf, tra-la-la, Polyanna cluelessness embodied in the words “we are all originally from Africa anyway.”

      The law in America for centuries said: You get to be white, but you have to be black. Ignoring the reality of what that meant for black people, and still means for them today, is to rewrite history, and the likes of Rachel Dolezal simply do not get to do that.

    • Ange says:

      You could easily understand why people are upset if you spent 5 minutes reading the comments. Lots of intelligent people are pointing out why this is upsetting.

    • Blythe says:

      Just because humans derived from Africa doesn’t not mean that you’re ethnically African. Give me a break!

  47. PrincessK says:

    Life is too short….so many more serious issues out there than to obsess over this woman.

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