When it was revealed over the summer that Rachel Dolezal, president of an NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., was white, her unusual story caught the nation’s attention. Could Dolezal, a Howard University graduate and civil rights activist, properly claim to be black even though she is Caucasian? Was she “transracial” — properly compared to Caitlyn Jenner? This was fodder for many a think piece.
“Rachel Dolezal is not black — by lineage or lifelong experience — yet I find her deceptions less troubling than the vexed criteria being used to exclude her,” Jelani Cobb wrote in the New Yorker.
“If blackness is simply a matter of a preponderance of African ancestry, then we should set about the task of excising a great deal of the canon of black history, up to and including the current President.”
But now, Dolezal has found an unlikely defender: pop star Rihanna who, in a Vanity Fair cover story, praised the woman who eventually resigned from the NAACP.
“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit,” Rihanna said. “Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”
The singer was promptly pilloried by many on Twitter.
“Rihanna called Rachel Dolezal a hero,” one wrote. “I’m assuming she meant the sandwich?” read full via Washington Post