The incredible lengths one white woman went to to prove to the world she's black.

Rachel Dolezal identifies as black. Is that even a thing?

You’ve likely heard of Rachel Dolezal – the white civil activist who spent the past decade pretending to be black – over the past week.

The 37-year-old stood down as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People’s Spokane chapter after her parents “outed” her as Caucasian last week.

Her parents revealed Rachel is actually of Czech, Swedish and German descent, with a trace of Native American ancestry.

Speaking for the first time since the furore, Ms Dolezal told reporters on Tuesday she had identified “as black” since age five.

Dolezal would not admit that she had deceived people, the New York Times reports.

Related: Why did Rachel Dolezal pretend that she was African American?

“I do take exception to that, because it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black, or answering a question of, ‘Are you black or white?’” she said.

Here, after being shown a photo of black man, Ms Dolezal identifies him as her father:

Ms Dolezal explained that she publicly identified a black man as her father because “we connected on a very intimate level as a family”.

She has a biological son – now 13 – with her former husband, who is black, and is the guardian of her adopted black brother, 21-year-old Izaiah.

Ms Dolezal said Izaiah sees her as his “real mum” so she “certainly can’t be seen as white and be Izaiah’s mum”.

“I have really gone there with the experience, in terms of the being a mother of two black sons, and really owning what it means to experience and live blackness.”


Ms Dolezal is now also facing accusation that she had her brother (also white) charged with sexual assault so she could adopt Izaiah.

Confused? So are we.

To save you the trouble of being sucked down an internet rabbit hole, the general online sentiment goes a little something like this…

Initially, there was outrage that Dolezal would identify as a black person without enduring any of the prejudices faced by ethnic minorities.

Then, there were many comparisons made between Dolezal’s “transracial” plight and Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition (which raised questions of whether being transracial was even a thing).

Others reckon that comparison is an insult to transgender people.

As one writer for the Huffington Post put it:

Dolezal’s delusion and commitment to living as a black woman is profound. And it’s inherently wrong. The implications of a white woman, donning blackness and then using that blackness in order to navigate black spaces is offensive. Her passing flies in the face of the countless black women who have had to pass as white in the history of this country, not because of a preference for or fetishization of whiteness, but purely out of survival. And comparing her life to Caitlyn Jenner’s is an insult to Jenner’s personal struggle. “I’m not doing this to be interesting. I’m doing this to live,” she told Vanity Fair.

Dolezal is not trying to survive. She’s merely indulging in the fantasy of being “other.”

Some think Ms Dolezal is mentally ill and should be left alone by the online lynch mob.

And others are just over the whole damn thing.

Clearly, there are a whole lot of ethical, emotional and legal issues raised by Ms Dolezal’s story.

And, by the sounds of it, there’s plenty more to come…

For related articles, try these:

NEWS: A mother with black skin has given birth to three white children.

This white woman is suing her sperm bank after being mistakenly sent black donor sperm.

Is this blackface or comedy?

Welcome to being a woman, Caitlyn Jenner.