Rachel Dolezal: ‘If you can choose your sex, why not choose your race?’

Rachel Dolezal, who pretended she was black for ten years despite being born white, has called for a change in the law to allow for ‘racial fluidity’.

She believes that people should be legally recognised as “transracial” – identifying as a different ethnicity to that of their birth.

The 39-year-old American was formerly a branch head of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, before being publicly outed as “biologically Caucasian” in 2015.


Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, Dolezal claimed that with transsexualism society has “progressed” and “evolved into understanding gender is not binary”.

She argued that because of this, race should also be considered changeable, saying race is “less biological than gender”.

Dolezal’s memoir, ‘In Full Colour: Finding My Place in a Black and White World’, was published this week.


The Editor of Spiked magazine, Brendan O’Neill, has warned that society needs to combat “subjective identity-making”.

In December 2015, he wrote: “The foundation stones on which identity was built for decades, the national flags, religious faith, workplace meaning or class feeling through which we constructed a sense of ourselves, through which we discovered or defined ourselves, are gone – or are at least shaky, insecure, withering.

“And in such circumstances, our sense of self can become weak; we cultivate new identities that feel unfounded, unanchored, changeable rather than convincing.”

The social commentator warned that, as a society, we must counter the new narrative by refusing to “acquiesce to alienated, subjective identity-making”.

Jenni Murray

Earlier this month, the BBC’s Jenni Murray faced calls for her sacking after she said sex is defined at birth, and not selected at a later date.

Following the comments, the BBC was urged to sack her from Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, which she currently presents. It has since “reminded” the presenter to “remain impartial on controversial topics” covered by her programme.

Murray’s Sunday Times article criticised moves to allow men who live as women to become guide leaders and the attempted renaming of breast cancer to “chest cancer”.

She also highlighted that there was a “lot of fear” from academics about the issue. “Your sex, male or female, is what you’re born with”, she said.

Related Resources