‘Pro-black, Activist’ Rachel Dolezal: ‘Race is a Social Construct’
Who was born white but spent years posing as a black civil rights leader – is back in the spotlight with a brand new memoir about her life as a “trans-racial” women.
Dolezal’s book, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World dives deep into the 2015 media frenzy that erupted after the former NAACP branch president identified as “African-American.”
In an interview Saturday with CNN’s Michael Smerconish, Dolezal said: “I believe that race is a social construct.”
Feeling as though she has always been misunderstood after publicly coming out as African-American, Dolezal said, “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,” she said.
Asked if she believes there are parallels between herself and transgender reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, Dolezal said, “I want to be careful because certainly every category of our identity is, you know, with its own unique circumstances and challenges.”
“But for sure there is some similarity in terms of harmonizing the outer appearance with the inner feeling,” she continued. “In terms of stigmatized identities, some people will forever see me as my birth category and nothing further. And the same with Caitlyn.”
The former African-American culture instructor at Eastern Washington University recently changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, a West African moniker that means “gift of God.”
Dolezal’s memoir, she says, was rejected by 30 publishing houses before one said it was willing to print.
“There’s no protected class for me,” Dolezal told the Guardian last month. “I’m this generic, ambiguous scapegoat for white people to call me a race traitor and take out their hostility on. And I’m a target for anger and pain about white people from the black community. It’s like I am the worst of all these worlds.”
Unapologetic about identifying as a black women, Dolezal said “I’m not going to stoop and apologize and grovel and feel bad about it. I would just be going back to when I was little, and had to be what everybody else told me I should be – to make them happy.”
Jobless, on welfare, and on the brink of homelessness, Dolezal told the CNN host that she hopes the people who send her “hate” will hear her side of the story and read her new book.
“Those who are going to hate, you know, I mean, they have their minds made up,” she said. “Maybe they’ll never read the book. I hope they do.”