Twitter had a lot to say about the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, who allegedly spent years posing as a black women when, in fact, her biological parents were both white. It's a really baffling story with a trail of social media evidence that Internet sleuths are unearthing. But this seems to be Twitter's biggest question Friday morning: Is Rachel Dolezal transracial? Is that even a thing? The Twitter masses seem to have spoken.
Alright, first let's turn to my good friend Merriam(-Webster) for a definition of transracial.
transracial (adj.) \(ˌ)tran(t)s-ˈrā-shəl: involving, encompassing, or extending across two or more races
The usage example is "transracial adoption," i.e., a family that adopts children of another race, thus creating a family that extends across "two or more races." That seems to be a legitimate usage of the term. There have been plenty of stories
written about transracial families, so the term is relatively accepted in that sense.
So can a biologically white woman who identifies as black be considered transracial? Does identifying as a different race from the one you were born into count as "involving, encompassing, or extending" race? Honestly, most of the Twitter users on the trending hashtag "transracial" don't think so.
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/whitnxy/statuses/609299777700954113]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/mariam_abdulle/statuses/609315109253578752]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/lizzo/statuses/609219899165020160]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/ashleylyken/statuses/609295982401073152]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/WESTCOASTSUMA/statuses/609266271247470594]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/bbyadult/statuses/609231856421220352]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/Philosavery/statuses/609176650211655680]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/tallmaurice/statuses/609162121625108480]
Others stuck up for Dolenzal.
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/trenttowns/statuses/609365999750676480]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/GodfreyElfwick/statuses/609267943050997760]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/ashtonbthinks/statuses/609353704081334272]
Of course there were people who compared Dolezal to — yes, I think you know what I'm about to say — Caitlyn Jenner. Yeah. That was coming.
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/seanmdav/statuses/609356205375537152]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/ThePhonz78/statuses/609197131593682944]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/_teresaagyemang/statuses/609211734713171968]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/RioTheJamaican/statuses/609200314315599872]
But most people seemed to think that was an unfair comparison.
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/papierhache/statuses/609227771877920768]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/diamonde/statuses/609220318511521794]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/suleikhasnyder/statuses/609167358205235200]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/JRehling/statuses/609225888647872512]
One thing's for sure: The debate over when it's appropriate to publicly identify as "transracial" isn't going away anytime soon.