Rachel Dolezal and her box braids have turned their 15 minutes of fame into 17 minutes after a new interview with Vanity Fair. As my colleague Danielle Belton puts it, “Vanity Fair never interviews black people, so they found a fake one?”
Dolezal’s interview includes tons of trans-rachel tears. Dolezal’s life after resigning from the Spokane, Wash., NAACP chapter hasn’t been a crystal stair. In addition to losing that job, she did not renew her professor’s contract at Eastern Washington University, where she taught classes on things like black-hair politics.
But that experience teaching about black-hair politics is now helping her.
Dolezal is now a beautician, and she told Vanity Fair that she now makes her living braiding and weaving black hair. Dolezal told the website that she has about three appointments a week, and the money is filling in a gap after she lost her previous jobs.
Dolezal also still states that she’s black—even though she was born to two white parents.
“It’s not a costume,” Dolezal says. “I don’t know spiritually and metaphysically how this goes, but I do know that from my earliest memories I have awareness and connection with the black experience, and that’s never left me. It’s not something that I can put on and take off anymore. Like I said, I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I’m not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be—but I’m not.”
On top of braiding and weaving, Dolezal hopes that eventually her experience will garner her a book deal so she can finally tell her side of the story, which will probably include her time as a white woman at Howard University before she decided to change her background. Never mind that real black women have to jump through hoops just to get a book agent and publishing company to give them the time of day.
I only wish Dolezal the best, and hope that one day she realizes that she can actually be a white woman who wears box braids and loves black culture, without being a white woman who wears box braids and loves black culture and lies about being black.