The Rachel Divide: A Netflix documentary on the identity politics uproar over “transracial” Rachel Dolezal

 

The Rachel Divide: A Netflix documentary on the identity politics uproar over “transracial” Rachel Dolezal

By
Nick Barrickman

15 June 2018

The Rachel Divide (directed and produced by Laura Brownson and currently airing on Netflix) delves into the uproar surrounding Rachel Dolezal, a white woman choosing to identify as African American, while also examining the effects that the negative publicity has had on her and her family.

In June 2015, Dolezal was “outed” by local news reporters as she drew attention to a series of alleged hate crimes of which she claimed to be the victim. At the time, Dolezal was the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) branch in Spokane, Washington.

Rachel Dolezal in The Rachel Divide

For the race-obsessed, sensationalist news media in the US, the story of a white woman who for years had successfully passed herself off as an African American was simply too tempting to pass up. The deluge of media coverage and commentary, including attacks on her personal character and the claim that Dolezal had appropriated “black identity” for her own gain, led to the 37-year-old woman resigning her position at the NAACP and being dropped from her seat on the Spokane police oversight board. She also lost her position teaching Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University.

The Rachel Divide details Dolezal’s devastating brush with the national news media and provides substantial background information about her life, her family and the factors that led her to identify as African American.

Dolezal discusses her traumatic childhood in Montana at the hands of her white parents, who are described as “borderline extremist” in their religious attitude toward family life.

Speaking of her childhood with…

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