(The Huffington Post) – When news broke that Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane NAACP chapter president and a professor of African-American Studies at Eastern Washington University, was a white woman who had pretended to be black for nearly a decade, the primary emotion people expressed was deep confusion, followed by denial and anger.
Black Twitter instantly descended on the story, hilariously deconstructing the situation with hashtags like #RachelDolezalPlaylist and #askrachel, while many — including Dolezal’s family members — openly condemned her behavior. Her 22-year-old brother, Ezra Dolezal, told The Washington Post that what she’s doing is effectively blackface, adding, “Back in the early 1900s, what she did would be considered highly racist. You really should not do that. It’s completely opposite — she’s basically creating more racism.”
And yet, despite overwhelming criticism, some commentators have questioned whether Dolezal has done anything wrong. Many have pointed to her living as a black woman as an example of something known as #transracial identity, even comparing Dolezal’s story to Caitlyn Jenner’s transition.
But let’s make one thing clear: transracial identity is not a thing.