In South Africa, blacks greeted Dolezal with disbelief and would have nothing of her claim that race is a social construct. Instead, most blacks advised her to take her cultural Marxism elsewhere. Gugulethu Mhlungu, a black celebrity tweeted: “Home Affairs needs to declare Rachel Dolezal an undesirable person.”
But Dolezal says she still identifies as black, despite the backlash she has received from the public. She first made news in 2015 when it was revealed she had been pretending to be black for nearly a decade.
The former African Studies Instructor is currently on a book tour promoting her In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World. In the memoir Rachel tells her story of identifying as a black person even though she was biologically born to white parents.
“I still identify black. Maybe trans-black is a good compromise because it identifies me from white parents but has a true black identity.”
Dolezal, who spoke on the 702 breakfast radio program with white ultra-leftist Stephen Grootes, however quickly entangled Grootes in his own ideological contradictions. Her visit has become a major headache for leftists in the country, because she says that race is not a biological concept.
Leftists have embraced the notion of race being a “social construct” but only accept it for blacks who want to be seen as white.
The 39-year-old American is also taking part in the Quest for Non Racial South African Society Dialogue (QfNRSASD), but it is unclear whether the tour will continue. Some have even begun a petition to block her from speaking at all.
Yanisha Teelock, founder of the group Understanding and Decolonising Cultural Appropriation, which created an online petition againts Dolezal’s visit, has put out a call on Facebook asking people to disrupt her talks. “I think it’s part of that colour blindness rainbow bullshit.”
Dolezal‚ who changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo‚ has been criticised as being a “race faker”. But she remains unfazed. She says that race itself is a lie and repeated a favourite leftist line that “we are one human race”.
“Historically‚ there has been more of the numbers crossing the colour line in the opposite direction. People born and categorised as black in the United States‚ lived a white life and that sense of racial fluidity had a bit of a spectrum‚ and yet‚ even people like Michael Jackson and others have reversed their pigmentation or their skin colour‚” she said.
“There is possibility for fluidity in many different directions but it’s not necessarily a mainstream trend or process that people undergo so I think to some extent‚ there was some shock and sense of ‘what do we do’ with somebody who has always felt connected to blackness for their entire life and yet was born categorised as white,” she said and added that being black is now a privilege, suggesting that blacks are no longer racial “victims”.
Her claims have clearly meant trouble for those who like to remind whites of their “collective guilt”. Dolezal holds a Masters in Fine Art degree from Howard University but told The Guardian she has since applied for more than 100 jobs without success‚ and has resorted to food stamps to feed her children because she is white. When she was still perceived as “black” she had a well-paying job.
“The spectrum that I just mentioned is a privilege spectrum‚ whether it is someone who is light-skinned and classified as black at birth or whether someone is born white and has certain features that would be racialised as black. I think that there is an ethnically indeterminate kind of zone that has a privilege for sure because then you have the personal agency to decide without certain surgeries – racial reconstruction surgeries‚ where people can go to extreme measures to alter an appearance towards one race or the other – and it’s not just black and white.”
The Huffington Post in South Africa was totally outraged by her notions of a “fluid” identity. They lambasted her for her “dangerous concepts of race”, but rather singled out transgenders who claim a “fluid” sexual identity.
“Not only does Dolezal bring forth dangerous concepts on race, she also propagates the denial of transgender identities and experiences. Just last week the world observed International Transgender Day Of Visibility. In South Africa, trans people are still fighting very hard to have their rights recognised by government and to have their rights seen as human rights by general society too. Any rhetoric that denies the real experience of transgender people is dangerous, just like this article in the Daily Beast outlines. Dolezal is not “trans-racial”, and this is not the same as being transgender.”
But Dolezal insists that she has an “authentic identity” and has remained cool during the onslaught.
“In my case‚ there was a crossing of the colour line but it’s still not as cavalier‚ it’s not a choice in a way that people think it was. This is how I have always felt… when I say authentic identity‚ it’s because this is who I have always been.”
Dolezal also told Grootes that when she identified as white‚ she was often questioned. “People were arguing with me and telling me I was more black than white and now people are telling me that I’m more white than black.”
Grootes grew angrier and angrier with Dolezal during his interview and could hardly contain himself.
“The majority of African American people in the United States have turned their backs on you‚ they’re furious and they feel that you have stolen from them. If you are so authentic‚ why do so many people feel that way?” Grootes fumed.
But Dolezal reminded Grootes that race was not a biological concept, just as all cultural Marxists, Grootes included, maintain.
“It really shows that race is a social construct. President Barack Obama even said race is more social than it is biologically and if you are considered an African American, you are an African American,” she answered calmly.
She explained her switch in identity – from white to black – as the result of her “decolonised mind”.