NYU Professor On Spokane NAACP Controversy: Some People Can Be Trans-Racial
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News) — The president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP is being accused of falsely portraying herself as a black woman, but an NYU professor said some people can, in fact, identify with a race other than their own.
As CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported Friday night, Rachel Dolezal was asked in an interview if she was African-American, and was clearly taken aback as she answered, with the remark, “I don’t understand the question.”
In a different interview, with Spokane CBS affiliate KREM-TV, she said: “Actually, I don’t like the term African-American; I prefer black. So, if asked, I would say, yes, I consider myself to be black.”
But her biological parents say that is not true. Her birth certificate lists her parents as Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, who said their daughter has been estranged from their family and has been misrepresenting herself.
“Our daughter is primarily German and Czech and of European descent,” Ruthanne Dolezal said. “She’s white.”
The couple said their daughter is pretending to be someone she’s not, CBS News reported.
“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,” Ruthanne said.
But NYU sociology professor Ann Morning told CBS2’s Jiang that just like some people are transgender, others may be trans-racial – identifying more with a race other than their own.
Dolezal grew up with four adopted black siblings, and was briefly married to a black man.
“We’re getting more and more used to the idea that people’s racial affiliation and identity and sense of belonging can change, or can vary, with different circumstances,” Morning said.
Dolezal said the only ones questioning her identity are Larry and Ruthanne.
“I don’t give two (expletive) what they think,” Dolezal said.
“It’s more important for me to clarify that with the black community and my executive board than with people who don’t understand,” she said.
In the past, Dolezal has identified herself as a mix of black, white and Native American. She dismisses the controversy as little more than an ugly byproduct of family dysfunction, CBS News reported.
In a statement, the NAACP said, “One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership.” The organization said it stands behind her.
Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I grabbed from the wrong file. This is two verbatim excerpts of a CBS News article from June 12, 2015, "NYU Professor On Spokane NAACP Controversy: Some People Can Be Trans-Racial." My apologies. Sometimes it's hard to tell the reductio ad absurdams I'm inventing from the ones that are actually happening.