Rachel Dolezal, the white Spokane, Washington woman who caused a sensation in 2015 when it was revealed she had been pretending to be Black for years, has come out in defense of white British influencer Oli London who had multiple surgeries in order to look Korean. London, who identifies as non-binary, claims to be “transracial.”
London has faced a backlash since declaring in a YouTube post last week that they had “transitioned” races and cultures after undergoing multiple surgeries to resemble their K-Pop idol, Jimin of BTS.
Dolezal, the disgraced former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane and former African American studies professor, was asked by TMZ to share her thoughts about London, who now calls themselves Jimin.
“I don’t know Jimin personally, obviously, so they can speak for themselves in that regard,” she said. “But I do think that the broader issue here is compassion and kindness, and that personal identity is not the big fish to fry when it comes to somebody’s personal choices or how they feel.”
Dolezal continued, “I think that we need to focus on fighting the public outrage issues of police brutality, of deinstitutionalizing racism. Those are the issues that I think that we need to come together on to fight publicly, and to be kinder to people and fight a little bit less on social media against somebody’s personal choices.”
She went on to say, “Cultural appropriation is very different from just being authentically yourself. So being true to yourself is a very different journey and experience than stealing somebody’s culture in order to profit or gain from it. There’s a different thing there, and I think sometimes people are confusing those two. It just gets caught up in the outrage online and I think sometimes we don’t take the time to actually listen to someone’s heart.”
Dolezal told the Today Show she “identifies as Black.”