Rachel Dolezal Sued Howard University Because She Thought They Were Discriminating Against Her For Being White

One of the strangest stories to come out of this first month of summer is the story of Rachel Dolezal, the woman who made herself up to look like a black woman and then became the president of the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter.

A new twist developed in her story on Monday. She once sued Howard University because she believed they discriminated against her – because she’s white.

The lawsuit against Howard University happened in 2002. Howard is a predominantly black college, so it’s likely that she learned to strongly identify with the African-American culture while she was in college. Dolezal, who went by Rachel Moore in college, has a Master of Fine Arts from Howard, but she felt she was denied a teaching assistant post, a scholarship and a post-graduate instructorship because she is white.

According to a Court of Appeals opinion, Dolezal’s lawsuit “claimed discrimination based on race, pregnancy, family responsibilities and gender.” She alleged that Smith and other school officials improperly blocked her appointment to a teaching assistant post, rejected her application for a post-graduate instructorship, and denied her scholarship aid while she was a student.

As detailed in the court opinion, Dolezal’s lawsuit contended that Howard was “permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult.”

Source: The Smoking Gun

Ultimately, the court ruled against Dolezal and she was forced to pay the university nearly $4,000 to cover their costs.

I’ve watched this unfold from the sidelines because I really wasn’t sure how to feel about it. While many African-American people have been understandably critical of Dolezal, some have been supportive. Some have compared her to a transgender person, although I have a difficult time believing racial identity is like gender identity.

Oddly, it was Dolezal’s parents who outed her as a white woman. Here’s a picture of the blonde haired/blue eyed girl next to her African-American persona:

Image via @KREMTaylor on Twitter

Image via @KREMTaylor on Twitter

It’s easy to speculate that Dolezal may have issues that extend far beyond what the eye can see. It’s odd that her parents would publicly out and shame her. They say it was because they didn’t want to lie to reporters and they felt she had “tried to damage her biological family.” We also learned that her brother is wanted for sexual assault against children in Colorado. Dolezal is assisting her brother, Joshua Dolezal, in his defense. Dolezal’s parents adopted four African-American children more than a decade ago, which also might contribute to Dolezal’s self-image.

Regardless of her motives, this is a bizarre story and it’s doubtful we’ve heard the end of Rachel Dolezal.