Can You Adopt a New Racial Identity?

Jessica Krug, former associate professor at The George Washington University


I am in a state of complete and utter shock and sadness. Jess La Bombera, an activist who I often deferred to and stepped aside and gave the mic to on this platform, just revealed that she is a white woman who has been pretending to be Black.

— Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.) (@SonofBaldwin) September 3, 2020

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

- James Baldwin

For a large part of the 19th century, the Irish were not considered white. In the process of assimilation, the majority of Irish adopted pro-slavery, anti-black political positions. Source
Left: In 2017, Malden Charter School was criticized for punishing two Black students for wearing hair extensions. Right: In 2018, a referee in New Jersey forced a 16-year-old mixed-race wrestler to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match.

“As people of color, no matter how hard we try, we cannot achieve whiteness, but the fact that a White woman can achieve Blackness and lie and take space and take resources and on top of it be belligerent when confronted is the epitome of White privilege.”

- Rosa Clemente, civil rights activist, and journalist



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Alisha Chamat

Alisha Chamat

Alisha Howard-Chamat is a freelance writer and author of the YA book, Awakener. You can find her around the web @AlishaChamat and at