Why Rachel Dolezal Makes Me Feel Good

Rachel Dolezal has shown that she is deceptive and perhaps deeply troubled. She lied about her background, and her dishonesty raises questions about her the truthfulness of other claims that she has made. For example, Dolezal claimed to be the victim of hate crimes.

Deception is a serious offense with far-reaching implications.

Even so, as a person of color, I find her desire to be identified as black and her apparent appreciation of black culture somewhat flattering.

Granted, one does not have to pretend to be black to express their appreciation of black culture, and many consider Dolezal’s actions an example of cultural appropriation. That is a sensible perspective. It may be true that Dolezal fetishizes black culture. However, there is something about the idea of an individual changing their identity to be a part of the black community that I find affirming. Dolezal went to great lengths to assimilate into the black culture.

She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from a historically black college. She teaches several courses in African-American studies at Eastern Washington University. Dolezal is also the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington. Finally, she is an artist, and much of her work features people of color.

Dolezal enveloped herself in black culture. Even her hair is a striking execution of traditionally black hairstyles. As hyperbolic as it sounds, one could argue that Dolezal genuinely loves blackness.

In a strange way, Ms. Dolezal’s life demonstrates a belief that being black is worthwhile, and that makes me feel good.

After all, spray tans, if that is what Dolezal uses, are not illegal. Certainly women are free to don any hairstyle they choose and being estranged from one’s parents is not uncommon. Ms. Dolezal’s issue is her dishonesty, and I suspect that for her to move on she will have to acknowledge her transgressions publicly. Until then, I choose to bask in Dolezal’s seemingly distorted, twisted love.