We previously discussed the bizarre case of Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP leader who claimed to be African-American yet turned out to be white. She later insisted that she chose to be black. Now she has a Netflix special (doesn’t everyone?). In the final irony, the company giving Dolezal a special has been denounced as promoting “white privilege.”
Dolezal was once he head of the NAACP’s chapter in Spokane before pictures revealed that she was white. Indeed, she once sued Howard University over discriminating against her for being white — before she claimed she was black.
As we discussed with regard to the controversy over Elizabeth Warren‘s claim of being a Native American, the Dolezal case was the first national controversy over self-designations of race.
Schools are grappling with this issue. Various schools like Brown University are allowing graduate school applicants to “self-identify” as persons of color. The change was made after objections from international and Asian American students that they are not treated as historically underrepresented racial groups. States like Delaware are moving in the same direction. The Census officials have reported a sharp increase in people changing their racial or ethnic identification.
People have denounced the special on Netflix in ironic terms:. Lizz Anya objected “At the end of the day, #RachelDolezal was able to secure a Netflix special because of her white privilege.” wrote one Twitter user Thursday.