Rachel Dolezal today expressed her belief that a person can identify as a member of a different race culturally and internally even if their skin color doesn’t match the stereotype for that race. A writer for a CNN opinion piece agrees with Dolezal and believes that Dolezal has the “right” to be black if that’s the identity that she feels most best represents her.
Many people are asking can someone be transracial in the same way that someone can be transsexual.
The short answer? Yes. Someone can feel, for whatever reason, that they are culturally one race more than another and their happiness can very much be tied to that idea.
A lot of the debate seems to be around the ideas that to be a member of a specific race with a different skin color a person must have experienced the same life and discrimination as the adopted race or, in this specific case, have a direct black African slave ancestor.
Obviously, a lot of people whose parents came here from Africa of their own free will after slavery claim to be “African-American” and “black.” So, that last requirement doesn’t fit. There are also plenty of white-skinned people who were raised in Africa who claim to be “African-American” after moving to the United States. Slideshare said that there have historically also been white Americans who adopted a black persona because they felt that they were black.