Transracial, a word unfamiliar to some, ridiculous to many, and understood by few has recently taken the media by storm. Rachel Dolezal, a now former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Chapter President has unintentionally brought attention to a subject that indeed deserves real discussion. Dolezal is defined racially by society as a Caucasian American Woman, but identifies herself definitely as a Black woman. Her Caucasian American parents revealed that their daughter has been “deceiving” her peers for a very long time, her birth father wonders why she cannot do the same work and good she has been doing for years but as a Caucasian American. In here lies the ethical problem.

Some may see what Rachel did as deception, but the fact of the matter is it can’t be considered that on the basis of what she believes; this mother of two boys, that look just like myself and millions of other African American men, identifies herself as Black. It was not her intention to approach this as a mockery, as most of society perceives it, but simply as her way of life. Who are we, as Americans to tell another person that their race is not what they say it is based on what society defines race to be? Transgenders are allowed to identify with the gender that they feel they are, they choose the restrooms that they enter, the clothes that they wear, and in some instances have even been incarcerated in the facilities that they identify with. If society can gradually become accepting of transgenders, I see no reason that the rules should change for the now, transracials.

On the other hand, what if she is indeed a con artist, someone who has been planning this “revealing” for years, can we blame the mass majority of people for not agreeing with this new way of life? Although identity includes how one views self, it is also important to realize it has a lot to do with how society views. To be clear, the ethical problem here lies not in Rachel Dolezal’s actions but the society we live in. It could be argued that this woman has done more positive for the Black community than those that criticize her story. Society dictates social norms. The ethical problematic here is quite simple, it is society telling her she is not what/who she says she identifies with. I say that the ethical problem here, is “us” as Americans.


Davie Rickenbacker

Public Health Ethics FellowWatch Consumed (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Tuskegee University

National Center For Bioethics in Research & HealthCare


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