Remember her? Rachel Dolezal was the head of the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter who was outed as a white person. She coined the term "transracial", claiming she identified as Black and should be treated as such. It was a weird situation, to say the least, and there was no shortage of opinions about her behavior when the truth came out.
Well, Ms. Dolezal is back in the news with the release of a Netflix documentary about her life, The Rachel Divide (clever, right?). She continues to assert her Blackness, and produces an ever-growing body of "evidence" such as having graduated from Howard, wearing her hair in braids, and engaging in civil rights activism.
I'm not going to pass judgment here (even though I sure will in other spaces), but in reliving the transracial phenomenon it made me think about how this woman owns her identity - there is absolutely no backing down when it comes to who she thinks she is. As a mixed race person, how nice would it be to feel this way? So many of us tiptoe around our racial identity, worrying about whether we're [ ]-enough, thinking that our looks define us, allowing others' perceptions dictate who we are. Imagine what life would be like if you had Rachel Dolezal-level confidence (and without even having to make it up!).
It's a powerful thought. Identify how you want, based on who you know yourself to be. Accept yourself without letting others take away from who you are. Correct people when they misclassify you, unapologetically. Do you.
(Curious about whether Rachel is a sympathetic character? Spoiler: she's not. But, you can watch the trailer here, check out a clip below, and see the full documentary on Netflix.)