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The Twittersphere lit up Friday regarding allegations that Rachel Dolezel falsel

y identified herself as African-American. At left is Dolezel as a child, accordi


ng to her family. At right is Dolezel as an adult.
(CNN)What would be the problems inherent with someone misrepresenting their race
, even if that person spent a career advocating for the race that he or she fals
ely claimed to be?
And at what point can a person ever legitimately choose to belong to a race with
which they have no apparent genetic connection?
Social media exploded with reaction Thursday and Friday to allegations that Rach
el Dolezal, the head of a NAACP chapter in Washington state, is Caucasian but ha
s been misidentifying herself as at least part African-American.
Dolezal, whose biography says she attended the historically black Howard Univers
ity, also teaches African-American studies at Eastern Washington University and
serves on Spokane's independent citizen police ombudsman commission. CNN's attem
pts to reach her for comment have been unsuccessful.
Here's a sampling of the reactions that made #RachelDolezal and #transracial tre
nding Twitter topics Thursday morning:
Questions of dishonesty, advantage
So, what if a white woman pretended to be black but, while doing so, worked to a
dvocate for black people? Some were supportive, though many seemed to struggle w
ith the issue.
Apparently more prevalent, though were criticisms, including one assertion that
such a person would have been "co-opting the oppression of Black women for profe
ssional advantage."