Rachel Dolezal, the American black rights activist who made international headlines after she was exposed as a white woman passing as black, continues to believe that race is a “social construct.”
Despite being forced to quit her role as the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) in Spokane, Washington, in 2015, Ms Dolezal stands by her “trans-black’’ identity and says “the idea of race is a lie’’.
“Nothing about whiteness describes me,” she told The New York Times.
Ms Dolezal has written a book, In Full Colour: Finding My Place in a Black and White World, in which she maintains ethnicity is not biological and describes how she identified as black from a very early age.
“Gender is understood — we’ve progressed, we’ve evolved to understanding that gender is not binary,’’ she told the BBC. “It’s not even biological. But what strikes me as so odd is that race isn’t biological either. And actually race has been to some extent less biological than gender, if you really think about history and our bodies. There isn’t, like, white blood and black blood.
In an interview with CNN promoting the book on the weekend, she said: “I haven’t identified as African-American. I’ve identified as black. And black is a culture, a philosophy, a political and social view.’’
She told how her aunt once made her a “black Raggedy Ann doll” . “She kind of recognised and seemed to understand my affinity for black is beautiful and black is inspirational,” Ms Dolezal said.
Ms Dolezal, who has legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, compared being “transracial’’ to being transgender and likened her journey to that of transgender former Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner.
“I want to be careful because certainly every category of our identity is, you know, with its own unique circumstances and challenges,” Ms Dolezal told CNN. “But for sure there is some similarity in terms of harmonising the outer appearance with the inner feeling. In terms of stigmatised identities, some people will forever see me as my birth category and nothing further. And the same with Caitlyn.”
In the book, Ms Dolezal says she regrets her now infamous 2015 answer to the question “Are you African-American?” Ms Dolezal told a journalist that she “didn’t understand the question” before she abruptly ended the interview when asked if her parents were white.
“If I would have had time to really, you know, discuss my identity, I probably would have described a more complex label, pan-African, pro-black, bisexual, mother, artist, activist, but I think the question, Are you African-American? — I haven’t identified as African-American. I’ve identified as black. And black is a culture, a philosophy, a political and social view.
“I believe that race is a social construct.” she added.
SOURCE: The Australian