Stats & Data

July 18, 2015

More musings on Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal Serious Rant

Serious Rant on Rachel Dolezal

Ryan Nelson


I have followed the whole Rachel Dolezal scandal from almost the beginning (at least from when I found out about it), and I must admit like many other Americans, I am absolutely fascinated by this. The mystery, the social rule breaking, the possible abuse, the use of social media to advance one’s own agenda; these are all ingredients for the ‘perfect storm’ of a story, one that will not subside for quite some time. Remember, we still have Joshua Dolezal’s trial coming up in August to look forward to. Now, I am not taking sides, but I believe that many of the questions people have about the whole situation will be answered during the trial.

For me personally, August is not soon enough. I want my controversies now.


Oh well, we will just have to speculate for now. Speculation is what this article I am writing is all about. I will take what is known about the Dolezal family and try to draw some rational conclusions that make sense from my perspective. As such, I do not claim any authority or truthfulness in this article. These are only my own ideas. I will not cite sources.

I write this with the assumption that the reader is familiar with this story and the basic timeline of the Rachel Dolezal media frenzy. Certainly her story did not begin with Rachel’s parents outing her, and it will most certainly not end after Joshua’s trial in August. I am going to focus on the behaviors of the principle players in this story, namely, Rachel and her parents, Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal.

I am focusing on behavior because at this point, as there is so much conjecture over what has been said and who’s been lying that citing quotes as truth would be quite impossible.

One of the main things I acknowledge in this writing is that no one can see into another person’s head to know exactly what they were thinking or why they made one decision or another. For Rachel, and for that matter, Larry and Ruthanne, all we have is what they said to have occurred, and their behaviors, which can be very telling indeed.

One of the first things that hit me about this case (again, my own opinion) is that both sides have blood on their hands. We know Rachel has not been truthful, but who said we had to take Larry and Ruthanne at their word? Just because they struck first in bringing this family saga to the national stage, they too might have their own agenda. Look at the timing of it all. Could Larry and Ruthanne benefit from having Rachel discredited at this point in time with the trial so close? Of course! And when someone can benefit from a situation, we must necessarily question their motives.

Two more tenets on which I am building my argument:

1. In psychology, most pathologies are gifts of love

This means that if Rachel is suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder, it was most likely a result of her relationship with her parents and family. Not too many outside factors would contribute to such a far-gone delusion as reinventing one’s life based around being untruthful.

2. People reveal more about themselves when they lie than when they tell the truth

I know this seems counterintuitive, but who do we know that would tell the truth about their embarrassing past when asked about it? There is a famous quote by Nietzsche that states: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” I am going to use this sentence formula to make my own quote and the reader can decide if it carries weight or not. “I’m grateful that you lied to me, because your lies have revealed more about you than telling the truth ever would.” In many cases, the liar (in this example, Rachel), despite their sincerest efforts, will reveal their whole story through their lies and actions. The twist is that the morethey attempt to hold on to their lies and ‘white knuckle’ it out until the end, the more it is obvious something is wrong and the truth has not been told.

And now for my idea: Rachel’s whole race thing, the passing and appropriating, though distasteful and illogical, is a ruse. It’s a red herring. Yes, it was her chosen vehicle to separate herself from her family and past life, but it isn’t why she began to pass as black. As I stated before, any pathology that would push one to such extreme actions must have a cause other than the thing itself. Had Rachel identified as black from an early age and nothing else happened. I believe her empathizing would have taken a much more socially acceptable course. Rachel Dolezal was not naturally this way, she was created. And like Frankenstein’s monster, I’ll bet mom and dad had a big part in it.

Fundamentalist Christian. This term brings the willies to the spine of anyone who is familiar with modern religious sects. Child rearing is important in this belief system, and doing things to the child that would legally qualify as abuse is encouraged to deal with behavior problems. It is my opinion that Rachel was abused, possibly severely. What else would push her to switch races and sever all ties with her family? Her behavior shows communalities to the behavior of abuse victims.

I can imagine Rachel thinking to herself after all this controversy unfolded: “At least they didn’t ask about the abuse at the hands of my parents. I can be black to the end of my days, but as long as they miss the real issue, I’ll be ok.” This is the true reason she has adamantly held her ground and refused to apologize. If she can keep us focused on the transracial aspect, then no one finds out the real issue. This is also why she could make such socially unacceptable decisions. She’s acting. There are no real consequences for the deep-down Rachel. She has plenty of road blocks and distractions set up to throw us off course.