And just like that, Transracial is born

Rachel Dozel

Rachel Dozel as an adult (left) and as a young woman (right).

I knew it was only a matter of time before Transracial became an issue. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. So what brought this on?

37-year-old Rachel Dolezal, Spokane’s NAACP Chapter President, was outed by her parents recently. As white. It seems that for almost a decade now, Dolezal has been telling people she was white, black, and American Indian. She even “identified herself as black in an application to serve on a local police ombudsman commission,” for which she now faces a city ethics probe over.

This was her reaction when confronted by KXLY regarding her parents claim that she is, indeed, white:


EDIT: According to KLKY, Dolezal has publicly posted pictures of a black man claiming he is her dad. The full interview video, from which the clip above was taken, can be found on KLKY’s site.

Her parents do say that Dolezal “has always identified with the African American culture and had black siblings who were adopted.” They also say that she was “part of a primarily African American community” in Mississippi and also married, and divorced, a black man.

The picture on the right at the top of this page was provided by Dolezal’s mother as part of the proof that she was born white. Additional images documenting Dolezal’s looks over the years can be found on KXLY’s website.

The revelation that Dolezal has been lying about her racial identity has given way to a new hashtag on Twitter: #Transracial. And, naturally, it’s getting some comparison to another trans word that’s been in the news lately.


For the record, the NAACP is standing behind Dolezal: “According to the NAACP, one’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership.” As far as I know, they haven’t made any comments about her lying about her race.

So what do you think? Can someone be transracial? While I don’t think the word was ever used, some people say Michael Jackson was trying to convert from black to white. If someone can be born the wrong gender, is it possible that someone can be born the wrong race? Can race be fluid?

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