Nearly 6,000 viewers tuned in to watch Rachel Dolezal talk about race on Facebook Live. It was, predictably, a bonkers and head-spinning session in which Dolezal answered viewers' questions — via New York Times senior editor Adeel Hassan — about her experiences as a self-described "transracial," pan-African black woman.
During the interview, Dolezal repeatedly told viewers to check out her full story in her book, and insisted she wasn't appropriating black culture because she's "so passionate about it" and "lives it every day."
Despite online resistance to Dolezal's public platform — the hashtag #ActualBlackWomen started trending Tuesday — she even went so far as to namecheck books by black women authors that she said fundamentally shaped how she thinks about her own racial identity, including Audrey Smedley's Race in North America: Origins of a Worldview, Dorothy Roberts' Killing the Black Body and Ann Morning's The Nature of Race.
In a particularly WTF moment, Dolezal also addressed black people who historically "passed" as white in America, noting it has a longer history than "going the other way." For a woman who claims to have such a critical grasp of history, this was an especially mystifying moment, as her comments completely erased the reality that black people who passed as white mostly did so to escape racialized violence and deeply entrenched racial and social domination in white supremacy.
Here are some of Dolezal's more standout quotes about her identity:
"Nothing about whiteness describes me."
"I'm kinda in the pan of pan-African."
"I identify as racially human, because there's one human race."
She had an "a-ha!" moment early in life that she was black, but was "conditioned to really repress that."
You can watch the full interview here:
By far, the most ridiculous part of the interview came at the end, when Dolezal explained why she paid $156 to legally change her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo. She said the name was given to her by the Igbo tribe in Nigeria.
"A representative from that tribe reached out to just say, 'We recognize you for being yourself.' From his perspective, he said, 'You have a high-frequency Nubian soul ... and you were sent here by the Gods to traumatize white supremacy."
She smiled as she recounted the story. "It was an interesting, just a very bold statement ... but the name that he gave me means 'gift of the Gods'," she said, adding that it was liberating to walk out of the courthouse after changing her name.
Needless to say, it was a head-scratching 31 minutes.