Can a white person identify as black? I started thinking about this today when I saw an article about Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who claims to identify as black, outed while serving as president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane. She has consistently claimed this identity for at least a decade and while I don’t know all the details it seems like this is more than using it for some kind of personal gain. When working for the Census we were trained never to assume racial identity by appearance. We asked their race and coded their reply. If someone looked white and said they were black, black was coded. The concept of identity is so complex and there are so many variables that…



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Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

I write about behavioral health & other topics. I’m Managing Editor (Serials, Novellas) for LVP Press. See my other articles: