Immediately after days of public speculation, former NAACP chapter president Rachel Dolezal broke her silence this morning in the course of an interview on the “Today“ show to say, “I recognize as black.”
Dolezal’s story had not only led to international headlines but generated a stream of social media comments about so-referred to as “transracialism,” comparing Dolezal’s case to that of a transgender individual.
But some professionals say such an analogy makes no sense. Anita Thomas, associate professor of counseling psychology at Loyola University Chicago, said there are genetic differences amongst genders that do not exist for races.
“Biological sex has biological physical components and we know race does not” in the identical way, Thomas said.
“Transgender” is also cited in healthcare literature and the diagnosis is identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Issues as a situation that can be treated by means of therapy, surgery or hormonal adjustments so a particular person can present as the gender they identify with.
Thomas points out there are normally hormonal or physiological elements that could lead to a person’s identifying with the opposite gender in a way that does not exist for any individual conflicted about his or her race.
Thomas alternatively suggests looking at why Dolezal, 37, could have wanted to present as a distinctive race. She mentioned it’s attainable Dolezal became far more comfy in the black neighborhood by way of her relationships and operate experiences and ultimately decided to seem black as a way to strengthen “self-esteem.”
“For Rachel, she did fantastic work with the NAACP, truly felt a lot of affirmation and powerful reinforcement,” stated Thomas, who has not worked with Dolezal. “It makes sense in terms of [her thinking,] ‘How do I get to a location where folks like me, and how I really feel comfortable about myself?’
“For Rachel this is in all probability a lot additional inward-driven.”
Dolezal might consider, “I feel superior … people are responding positively” to her as a black woman, Thomas added.
Dolezal, whose parents have stated they are white, has not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.
Kevin Cokley, a professor in the Division of Educational Psychology and the Division of African and African American Diaspora Studies at University of Texas-Austin, stated he had under no circumstances heard of case like Dolezal’s.
Cokley mentioned social scientists talk about race “as a social construct,” not biological, so it is confusing when somebody then claims they can “identify” with being black.
Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, multicultural professional and chair of international psych division at the Chicago School of Specialist Psychology, stated Dolezal’s case brings up intriguing inquiries of how people today recognize with different cultures and races.
“Because of a familiarity with black culture, she [may well] regard herself as transracial,” Dass-Brailsford stated. “But [she] can not claim to be black.”
Dass-Brailsford said what’s troubling for some is that Dolezal misrepresented herself in a way that quite a few persons have perceived as lying.
“She can identify with black culture, that’s fine,” Dass-Brailsford stated. “But then to claim as a outcome of performing that they come to be black … is an issue.”
Dass-Brailsford said what can make men and women uncomfortable is their suspicion that she misrepresented herself for benefit.
“We have to make all these suppositions about why she’s lying,” Dass-Brailsford said. “Because individuals lie for advantage and what’s the benefit” of changing races?
Her case has made individuals uncomfortable, Dass-Brailsford stated, but as the United States becomes extra diverse, people may possibly have to address extra and extra of these thorny issues about race and what it signifies to society.
“We may have a widespread culture as we develop into far more of pluralistic society,” Dass-Brailsford stated. “These sorts of differences will always come up.”