Vanity Fair
Van­i­ty Fair

Rachel Dolezal is pay­ing a high price for pass­ing as a black woman. The for­mer Africana stud­ies pro­fes­sor, who still insists that she is black, was released from her con­tract at East­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty and resigned as pres­i­dent of the Spokane NAACP. In a Van­i­ty Fair pro­file Dolezal says she is work­ing on a book about her expe­ri­ences, and is doing braids and weaves to make ends meet.

As she fig­ures out where she’ll land next, Dolezal says she is sur­viv­ing on one of the skills she per­fect­ed as she attempt­ed to build a black iden­ti­ty. At East­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, she lec­tured on the pol­i­tics and his­to­ry of black hair, and she says she devel­oped a pas­sion for tak­ing care of and styling black hair while in col­lege in Mis­sis­sip­pi. That pas­sion is now what brings in income in the home she shares with Franklin. She says she has appoint­ments for braids and weaves about three times a week. She says that a pre­vi­ous cus­tody agree­ment with her ex-hus­band man­dates she stays in the Spokane area, but that now her ex may approve a move giv­en recent cir­cum­stances.

“I would like to write a book just so that I can send [it to] every­body there as opposed to hav­ing to con­tin­ue explain­ing,” she says. “After that comes out, then I’ll feel a lit­tle bit more free to reveal my life in the racial social-jus­tice move­ment. I’m look­ing for the quick­est way back to that, but I don’t feel like I am prob­a­bly going to be able to re-enter that work with the type of lead­er­ship required to make change if I don’t have some­thing like a pub­lished expla­na­tion.”

I mean she did fool thou­sands of peo­ple with that very real­is­tic-look­ing curly hair wig, so… maybe she has skills?

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Are you sym­pa­thet­ic to Rachel’s plight, or do you feel this is all deserved?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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39 Comments on "Rachel Dolezal: ‘I’m Broke and Doing Braids and Weaves to Make Ends Meet’"

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I think Rachael is a good per­son and has a good heart, so what if she want­ed to be black, maybe nobody is count­ing all the weaves black women wear try­ing to look white. You can’t even find a black woman with her own hair these days, so Rachael you will be out of busi­ness unless you go back to doing white hair, because that is what is on the head of most black women, and some are mad at you for try­ing to look like them, SMH. Any­way I appre­ci­ate the work you were doing with the NAACP. to… Read more »
vivian scheffler locklin
vivian scheffler locklin
I feel where Rachel is com­ing from. I grew up with my three sis­ters on an iso­lat­ed farm in Min­neso­ta. Race wasn’t dis­cussed because it wasn’t an issue, but as we grew up and left home and met a vari­et of peo­ple while we worked at any job that wa hon­est and paid our tuition for under and post grad­u­ate degrees we were all shocked by the overt snd open racism we encoun­tet­ed. We fought it instinc­tive­ly, and as unso­phis­ti­cat­ed as we were, often unwise­ly and dan­ger­ous­ly. At 84 I still can’t under­stand what trig­gers it. But I did dis­cov­er… Read more »
I actu­al­ly feel bad for Rachel Dolezal.…seriously. She’s just as messed up as some black peo­ple who swear that their white…(We all know those). The fun­ny part is… white media is going to praise and her books will do real­ly well, there are so many white peo­ple out there like her pos­ing as black and wish to be black so bad­ly, just like blacks try­ing to be white.…its so unfor­tu­nate. Whether you tan to be dark­er or bleach to get lighter, when you can’t accept who you are as a grown ass adult, there’s some kind of men­tal dis­crep­an­cy. She’s… Read more »

Don’t com­pare to unlike things. Also there’s a dif­fer­ence between gen­der and sex, sex is biol­o­go­cal, gen­der is not.

Wow! OK, I’m a white woman. I work with the pub­lic and treat every­one with respect. I only end­ed up here b/c one of my cowork­ers post­ed a link to some black hair arti­cle which I thought sound­ed inter­est­ing. I have to say that I’m appalled by the hatred and bias I’m read­ing in these replies. Noth­ing to do with Rachel Dolezal, real­ly, but every­thing to do with the state of affairs on race in this coun­try. Just ask your­self this: Would you reach out to embrace a per­son who is angry, arro­gant and prej­u­diced? Of course not. It doesn’t… Read more »
“Get over your­selves” Very easy for you to say when your born into white priv­i­leges. We are all human but unfor­tu­nate­ly race is a deter­mi­nant of equal­i­ty. You stereo­type and imme­di­ate­ly denote com­menters to a typ­i­cal “angry, arro­gant and prej­u­diced” black indi­vid­ual… over com­ments, then fol­low up and con­clude blacks oppress them­selves. Cen­turies of slav­ery, ongo­ing prej­u­dice, coer­cion and mis­ery, you don’t sup­pose that has a long term psy­cho­log­i­cal affect on cul­ture? How can you speak of “the state of affairs on race” with such a closed mind frame? Every­one is human, how­ev­er, some have to work 20x hard­er in… Read more »

She WAS ruin­ing lives by tak­ing jobs that should have gone to black women and she’s STILL doing that by doing black hair when she knows she has no busi­ness even try­ing that. Her entire “rep­u­ta­tion” was fake because it was built off of lies, and yet you defend her? I guess you wan­na to be the one black per­son always try­ing to excuse the inex­cus­able actions of white peo­ple smdh


She was one per­son, and doing a good job.

Philly Jawn

She want­ed to be a black woman well wel­come to the strug­gle baby! Kitchen beau­ti­cian hus­sle on a seri­ous note ic ant iden­ti­fy as white or pass so why can she do this and its cool

Staci Elle

She could nev­er touch my hair, no ma’am


What­ev­er hap­pened to her claims that she had been sent race hate mail?
The woman’s total­ly delud­ed.

Staci Elle

that was a lie.

Elisabeth Ashley

It’s just so wild to me. Social jus­tice is impor­tant to her, but she didn’t have to lie about being Black to make a dif­fer­ence. She didn’t have to lie about being Black to work at the NAACP or go teach or any of those things, this whole sit­u­a­tion is so strange and unnec­es­sary.

Oh, I get it…I lived in a Mid­west­ern col­lege town for 8 years and the few braiders/stylists/salons that catered to black women act­ed like they were doing you a favor AND they charged a lot because they could. Hap­pi­ly I was nat­ur­al and knew how to do my own hair…I only went to them twice for BCs because I knew they couldn’t mess that up, lol. Oth­ers weren’t as for­tu­nate. I’m look­ing at Spokane’s demo­graph­ics and it’s 5 times the size of my col­lege town…but it also has a black pop­u­la­tion of less than 3 per­cent. I don’t know…I guess… Read more »
The ORIGIN of Cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion is about DEHUMANIZING Black cul­ture by SEPARATING the CREATION from the BLACK PERSON’S BODY and the BLACK PERSON’S BODY from HUMANITY itself . Sep­a­rat­ing our genius from our bod­ies means whites can WATCH a Black per­son do some­thing great, beau­ti­ful, or inter­est­ing and STILL DEHUMANIZE THEM (i.e. pro sports).Not only do whites WEAR the skin, cul­tures, cloth­ing, and beau­ty tra­di­tions of the non-white peo­ple that they are racial­ly oppress­ing like COSTUMES, they feel they can turn non-white people’s old and sacred tra­di­tions into mean­ing­less and cheap “TRENDY” GARBAGE; act like the ULTIMATE “SCHOLARLY EXPERTS” on… Read more »
Jennifer Lumpkin



It takes the com­plete dehu­man­iza­tion and defem­i­niza­tion of ‘Black wom­an­hood’ for ‘white wom­an­hood’ AND it’s pre­ten­tions of sup­pos­ed­ly ‘natural’(i.e. bio­log­i­cal) whole­some, pure, beau­ti­ful, del­i­cate, and inno­cent ‘supe­ri­or­i­ty’ to even exist. White women are a rel­a­tive­ly pro­tect­ed class of women whose ‘pedestal’ is built on den­i­grat­ing the VERY HUMANITY of Black women. Pre­tend­ing like there is only ONE “ide­al”, “nor­mal”, “uni­ver­sal stan­dard” of beau­ty, wom­an­hood, and HUMANITY, is what is OPPRESSING us. It’s CENTRAL to our oppres­sion and basic safe­ty as Black women.

White free­dom and priv­i­lege is based on the oppres­sion of oth­er races. There was no ‘white race’ before the “inven­tion” of the ‘Black race’ by whites. His­tor­i­cal­ly ‘white’ iden­ti­ty is a neg­a­tive iden­ti­ty – it has ONLY meant NOT being a per­son of col­or. Race and gen­der are not real­ly sep­a­ra­ble in terms of how iden­ti­ty is con­struct­ed in this patri­ar­chal white suprema­cist soci­ety. To jus­ti­fy the sys­tem­at­ic rapes of enslaved African women and girls, white sl*ve mas­ters con­struct­ed the notions of Black wom­an­hood and white wom­an­hood. Just as white­ness is defined against the exis­tence of Black­ness, white women’s (so-called)… Read more »



lmao. who let­ting her do they hair? they des­per­ate. i’d watch a youtube video and try it myself before i let some­one with a reced­ing hair­line braid my hair. what she think was going to hap­pen to her? that’s what hap­pens when you lie.. even­tu­al­ly, you get caught. she shoul­da been putting mon­ey away

Staci Elle

” i’d watch a youtube video and try it myself before i let some­one with a reced­ing hair­line braid my hair. ”

Is it wrong that this gave me so much life?


Hon­est­ly I don’t care sigh move on .


Even though she is hard-pressed for cash, she is still get­ting her sto­ry told in a major print media out­let with the pos­si­bil­i­ty of get­ting a book deal. Sweet. Priv­i­lege lives!


Please stop say­ing that this girl has Black Wom­ans prob­lems. She is white and so are her prob­lems. Her arro­gance and igno­rance have back­fired and now she is tak­ing her black fetish to the streets and hop­ing some igno­rant coons will let her run her spray tanned fin­gers through their coils for a fee. I couldn’t give the thinnest crispi­est damn about her orange and white cream­si­cle tears.


#dead, I’m cry­ing!


boo hoo! cry me a riv­er! sym­pa­thy par­ty of one.
She was mak­ing bank pre­tend­ing to be black…she basi­cal­ly took jobs that should have gone to black women…and in essence hurt black women who need­ed jobs. My under­stand­ing is she was more of a com­peti­tor with black women, not so much a friend (loved the brothas though). I won­der which sis­tas paid $$$ so RD could per­fect her braid­ing style on their heads?


listen…her wash n go wig was LAID.

Cassa Blanca

I wish I could say I feel sor­ry for her, but it seems she’s STILL hell bent on milk­ing this and prof­it­ing of blk women’s expe­ri­ences by any means. Even at her “worst” she still hasn’t a clue. She needs to step the hell on


Before all this came out, she wasn’t ruin­ing any of our lives. I real­ly don’t care what iden­ti­ty she tries to take on, as long as it’s not harm­ful to any­one. I don’t feel her rep­u­ta­tion had to be ruined, but this is the soci­ety we live in.

When some­one pre­tends they’re Native and lays claim to assis­tance and ben­e­fits specif­i­cal­ly for Natives, they can be pros­e­cut­ed and suf­fer jail time. But blacks in the U.S. were nev­er even grant­ed any real forms of repa­ra­tions for slav­ery, nor the will­ful mur­der and tor­ture of many dur­ing slav­ery and after to cur­rent times. Now, I don’t at all think the Natives are being giv­en the full rights, ben­e­fits and repa­ra­tions they should be, but it would be nice if no one could just claim ben­e­fits from a strug­gle that cost so many lives, with­out some con­se­quences. I know many degreed… Read more »

Per­son­al­ly I wont judge her before I’ve met her. I don’t under­stand we live in a world where a bio­log­i­cal­ly born man can decide to be a woman and win awards for it but this woman who wish­es to be black…people turn to spit on her. There is gen­der in equal­i­ty, there is racial inequal­i­ty. Both are genet­ic truths yet we are choos­ing to which is per­mis­si­ble to change.


She can do box braids for the rest of her life for all I care. There are real black peo­ple out there with prob­lems not self inflict­ed.

Keith Buckner

Ain’t she set­ting her­self up for tax fraud (eva­sion).


This bog­gles my mind.
— Are there no oth­er braiders or weave-olo­gists in Spokane?
— Are the black women there that hard up for weave and braids?
— Are black women there that hard up for atten­tion that they would give mon­ey to this woman to be able to say they had braids or weave done by her?
— Are black women that hard up for white women’s approval that they would sup­port a white woman who has proven by her actions that she cares more about her­self than she does about the peo­ple she claims to help?

Now all that said…perhaps her clien­tele is non-black… :)


There’s a braid salon near me with all Asian styl­ists. It’s not just us get­ting braids and weaves.

Puat Do

Actu­al­ly there may not be many peo­ple close to Spokane (if any) that spe­cial­ize in AA hair. I found hav­ing lived in a small­er town in the past that there may be 1 per­haps 2 shops that every­one goes to. Some­times it is dif­fi­cult to get an appoint­ment when you need and you may have to wait. But I wouldn’t rush out to have her in par­tic­u­lar do my hair.

A drown­ing fish gets more sym­pa­thy from me.….really she is very plain look­ing, so if she would just end the fool­ish­ness and go on about her mer­ry way she could get a job.  She may need a dif­fer­ent last name or just go by Rachel D. And that is the dif­fer­ence between being a black woman and pre­tend­ing to be a black woman. No mat­ter how hard some may try, you can’t sim­ply just wash off your black­ness with a show­er. You can’t just change your par­ents so cal­lous­ly and gain a new eth­nic­i­ty. Some black women may be on the… Read more »

Wel­come to the real black expe­ri­ence bitch!


Yeah, no sym­pa­thy. She can go back to being white when­ev­er she choos­es and BAM…black prob­lems solved.