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Who is Rachel Dolezal, subject of new ‘transracial’ documentary on Netflix?

Rachel Dolezal
Rachel Dolezal, who is the subject of new documentary The Rachel Divide on Netflix 

Rachel Dolezal is set to be the subject of a new Netflix documentary called The Rachel Divide — but who is she and why is she famous?

Rachel, 40, hit headlines back in the summer of 2015 when she stepped down as the president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Why was it such a big story? Because it came to light that her birth certificate identifies both her parents as being white, while she represented herself as being an African-American.

During her adult life she has spent time as an Africana studies instructor and as a civil rights activist. In March 2017, Dolezal changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo.

The story about her broke in June 2015 when her European American parents came out and said she was actually white but passing herself off as black. She had previously claimed she was the victim of nine hate crimes, but an investigation by police did not back up her allegations.

She later claimed she was “transracial”, and said she identified as being black — but admitted she had been born white.

In the trailer for the new documentary The Rachel Divide one of her two sons reveals he “resents” some of his mother’s choices and expresses fears that her actions are going to come back to bite him.

Who are Rachel Dolezal’s parents?

Dolezal was born in Lincoln County, Montana, to Ruthanne and Lawrence “Larry” Dolezal, who are both white with Czech, German and Swedish ancestry. She has a biological brother and when she was in her teens Dolezal’s parents also adopted three African-American kids and a black child from Haiti.

The Rachel Divide trailer

The Rachel Divide begins streaming April 27 on Netflix.

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as a journalist for more than ten years, previously as an editor at the... read more
Julian Cheatle


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