Rachel Dolezal has been the subject of heavy criticism and derision online ever since the NAACP chapter leader was outed by her biological parents as being born a white female. Ms. Dolezal had been the target of racist threats because of her work on criminal justice issues and others related to the work of the NAACP. Instead of her parents feeling empathy for their daughter who was receiving death threats and spoke to the media about it, instead they decided to out her as being a non-black person and in fact, born white.
“Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said Thursday that they want people to know the truth including that their daughter is Caucasian. The Dolezals sat down with 11Alive’s Spokane sister station, KREM 2 News and said their daughter is specifically German and Czech.”
However, they did share information that would explain why Ms. Dolezal may identify as Black or African-American and not white.
Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said their daughter has always identified with the African American culture and had black siblings who were adopted. They said she went to school in Mississippi and was part of a primarily African American community. “Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” said Ruthanne Dolezal.
Ms. Dolezal says that she is estranged from her parents and do not consider them her parents. She says she is in a dispute with them because of allegations made towards a biological brother concerning a sister. The nature of the allegations are unknown but the family seems to be very dysfunctional from the outside.
However, besides identifying strongly with Black and African culture, what else might her motivation to reject her white culture?
Could it be financial?
Not very long ago, comedian and actress Mindy Kaling’s brother claims he got into medical school by posing as a black man to take advantage of affirmative action and now looking for a publisher for a book he wants to write about how affirmative action promotes racism and is offensive to “minorities” as it suggests they could not get into college on their own merits. That is funny coming from someone who claims his grades were not good enough to get into medical school.
It does not appear that Ms. Dolezal lied about her race to get admitted to college and she would later teach Black studies. In terms of benefiting from affirmative action, no one benefits more from it than white women so that may not be among her motives.
Did she lie about her race in order to obtain her position at the NAACP?
The NAACP says that while that job has traditionally gone to non-white people, that particular branch in Spokane, Washington has had a white person in that position in the past because the city has a population of Blacks that is less than two percent.
White people working for the NAACP is nothing new obviously when a white man and woman founded the organization along with W.E.B Du Bois.
Is Ms. Dolezal shunning her white heritage because she is not proud of it?
Given the racist genocidal actions of white people, particularly in the United States and Germany, that may be playing into her reasons for not wanting to be identified as white.
Ms. Dolezal is an interesting psychological case study on many levels.
As an example, many Black people are rightly concerned about white people adopting non-white children because it might confuse them about racism and they might lose a connection to their own people viewing them through the lens of possibly racist suspect parents.
The fear is that these children will grow up with a lot of self-hatred.
However, the opposite seems to have occurred with Ms. Dolezal growing up and living among Black people, it seems she could have possibly developed white self-hatred and why she apparently dedicated herself to issues like criminal justice that impact Black people the most.
Make no mistake, Ms. Dolezal engaged in white deception but the reasoning for that deception is not immediately apparent.
Another interesting aspect of her story is that people are proposing that like transgenders, perhaps Ms. Dolezal feels that she is a black female born in the body of a white female. If Bruce Jenner who has undergone a gender transformation into Caitlyn Jenner after living as a male for decades even starting families, then is it possible that Ms. Dolezal is trans-racial and is there such a thing?
This is indeed an interesting case study on race, racism and cultural identity. The story is worthy of more study instead of the simple derision of a white person wanting to be black who rejected her whiteness.