Rachel Dolezal and the Left's World of Make Believe

In “Rachel Dolezal, Ethnic Politics and the World of Make Believe,” Peter Wehner of Commentary writes:

“Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” Ruthanne Dolezal said. Her mother said Rachel began to “disguise herself” in 2006 or 2007.

This interview shows Dolezal being caught in her lie. It also seems quite likely that her claim that she’s received racially motivated hate letters and pictures was a ruse. (Police are still investigating, but say that whoever placed the mail must have had access to the mailbox, as it was not processed through the regular mail.)

The reason this story is significant is that it so perfectly represents the absurdity of the American Left today. There’s the obsession with racial and ethnic politics, to the point that this very white woman would attempt to start a “new life” in which she airbrushed out of history her real father, invented a black father and began to darken her skin and hair. It wasn’t enough to support a political and cultural cause; she had to pretend she was black. She had to be part of the African-American sisterhood, to the point of re-inventing who she is. That is what gave her validation.

But that’s not all. Ms. Dolezal, in a later interview, was unapologetic about her deception. Indeed, she still maintains she’s black, even though she’s white. We don’t really understand, you see, the “definitions of race and ethnicity.” Which, according to Dolezal, don’t have anything to do with race and ethnicity. Or even reality.


One of my favorite moments so far is Dolezal pleading that “challenging the construct of race is at the core of evolving human consciousness” in her resignation statement. That seems absurd at least twice over — if “challenging the construct of race” really was at the core of “evolving human consciousness,” you wouldn’t have so many Democrats reverting back to their concept of separate but equal education over the past 20 years, after all-too-briefly and commendably paying lip service to the goal of a colorblind society in the ’60s and ’70s. But by mid-2008, Obama’s longtime religious mentor, whose pro separate but equal speech to 10,000 wildly approving NAACP members toyed with the following concepts:

He claimed these differences were genetic (imagine Charles Murray trying to pull this off!). European-Americans have a “left-brain cognitive, object-oriented learning style. Logical and analytical,” explained Wright, whereas blacks “learn not from an object, but from a subject. They are right-brain, subject-oriented in their learning style. That means creative and intuitive. The two worlds have different ways of learning.”

The logical conclusion of Wright’s words was that whites and blacks should be schooled separately, but he did not expand on the point. What was important is that whites and blacks inhabit different spheres — two worlds, in fact. And now we were at the nut of Wright’s message.


That speech to the NAACP was declared “a home run” by a CNN spokeswoman, a week before the network received its marching orders from the Obama campaign and tossed Rev. Wright down the proverbial Memory Hole.

Similarly, you wouldn’t have so many leftists using race a cheap cudgel against Obama’s opposition on both sides of the aisle starting in 2008 — including by Dolezal herself, astonishingly enough. And if Dolezal truly believes her current modified limited hangout, she wouldn’t have picked the NAACP to be her employer, as they’ve become increasingly militant and polarizing in their racial stance as well in recent decades. (QED.)

This hilarious tweet from Las Vegas comedian George Wallace (no relation to the best of our knowledge to his earlier fellow Democrat with the same name) places Dolezel’s bizarre claim into further context:

Oh, and there’s this little tidbit at the Smoking Gun: “NAACP Imposter Sued School Over Race Claims:”

The court opinion also noted that Dolezal claimed that the university’s decision to remove some of her artworks from a February 2001 student exhibition was “motivated by a discriminatory purpose to favor African-American students over” her.

As detailed in the court opinion, Dolezal’s lawsuit contended that Howard was “permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult.”

Judge Zoe Bush dismissed Dolezal’s complaint in February 2004, 18 months after the lawsuit was filed and Dolezal was deposed on several occasions. Bush found no evidence that Dolezal was discriminated on the basis of race or other factors. The D.C. Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed Bush’s decision.

Following the dismissal of Dolezal’s lawsuit (and the Court of Appeals decision), she was ordered to reimburse Howard for a “Bill of Costs” totaling $2728.50. During the case, she was also ordered to pay the university nearly $1000 in connection with an “obstructive and vexatious” court filing that sought to improperly delay her examination by an independent doctor.

Dolezal’s lawsuit, included “claims for medical and emotional distress damages,” according to a court docket.


Hot Air’s Allahpundit imagines the internal contradictions of a young woman obsessed with identity politics attempting to formulate her identity*:

So imagine you’re Rachel Dolezal, having grown up with adopted brothers and sisters who are black, having married a black man, having focused your art on African-American subjects, having applied and been accepted to Howard University, and then discovering that you’re still not black enough to be fully accepted in the cultural and academic circles you move in. Part of the reason she changed her appearance doubtless was sincere identification with and admiration for black culture, but partly too it now seems like an act of desperation to assimilate as completely as she wished. She was caught in an authenticity trap, a ludicrous phony when she tried to pass as black and a “problematic” white artist exploiting black subjects when she didn’t.

The above article from the Smoking Gun references Dolezal’s artwork, and note this great catch by the Weasel Zippers blog: “Derivative is one word for the following. Plagiarism is another. You can decide.” Dolezal’s painting strongly resembles a clumsy Photoshop knockoff of “The Slaveship,”  J.M.W. Turner legendary proto-impressionist work from 1840.

* Dolezal is far from alone on the left in attempting to open up the Identikit, shake up the contents, remold herself into something she isn’t, and then demand that society as a whole play along. As Sean Davis writes today at the Federalist, when it comes to Dolezal and Bruce Jenner, the difference isn’t fraud; “The only difference between these two is the extent to which society is willing to entertain their delusions” — which brings us back to the headline of Wehner’s Commentary post.



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