In praise of Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal did a service. Racial identity is a social construct. Black and White are identity, not genetics.

There are many instances of families slipping into Whiteness over the generations. Why not the other direction? What Dolezal did shocks us because we can’t believe she would prefer Black over White.

She deceived with regard to her genes as a byproduct of choosing her identity. There were few explicit lies, and they weren’t about important things. The deception, not the lies, is what disturbs people.


She did nutty things. I’m not saying I’m in love with her.  But people do nutty things all the time. None of us would care about this person except that she switched from White to Black, which shocks because:

1. We think it’s worse to be Black than White
2. We think Blackness and Whiteness are genetic rather than social

In that switch she did a service. We are confronting those racist beliefs because she called our attention to them.