In Rachel Dolezal’s Skin

In Rachel Dolezal’s Skin

VICE’s Women’s Interest Channel

Mitchell Sunderland, Managing Editor

Photos by Amy Lombard

In an exclusive interview, Rachel Dolezal discusses growing up on a Christian homestead, painting her face different colors as a child, and why she’s naming her new baby after Langston Hughes.

On a gloomy Saturday night in Spokane, WA, roughly a dozen people gather in the penthouse suite of the Davenport Grand Hotel for Rachel Dolezal’s baby shower. Hip-hop and jazz play on a flat-screen TV, and paper yellow duckies hang on the silver walls. While Rachel’s 21-year-old adopted son Izaiah pops a bottle of champagne, Rachel’s friends—her ex-boyfriend Charles Miller and several women—eat croissant sandwiches on disposable plastic plates. The women vary in age and race (there’s nearly an equal number of black and white guests), but when I ask them how they know Rachel, most give the same answer: “She does my hair.”

Rachel does her own hair, too. Today, she wears a black weave. “In the winter I like to have [a weave] because you don’t have to wear a hat,” she explains. “In the summer I like to wear braids and dreads—that’s just me.” The women’s conversations, though, aren’t about hair and instead revolve around the baby. An hour into the party, Rachel’s friend passes out pieces of paper for a “baby pool.” She asks the partygoers to predict the baby’s “weight, birthday, and gender.” There’s not an option for race. It’s undoubtedly a sensitive topic in this room, but no less a loaded one. After all, much of Rachel’s story is hinged on the concept that, like gender, race is a social construct

Read the entire interview here.

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