The Slatest

Rachel Dolezal Is Naming Her Son After Langston Hughes

Rachel Dolezal Today show
Rachel Dolezal on the set of the Today show in New York on June 16, 2015.

Photo by Stephanie Keith/Reuters

A very big splash was made earlier this year when news outlets in Washington reported that now-former Spokane NAACP chapter president Rachel Dolezal, who presented herself as a black woman, is actually of European ancestry; though it’s true that race is not a biological category, Dolezal is pretty much 100 percent “white” by our common cultural definition of the term. Further investigation indicated that she may have faked hate crimes against herself and once sued Howard University for discriminating against her because she wasn’t black. She’s also been involved in a long, ugly legal feud with her family. The point is, Rachel Dolezal gets people riled up. And, in a Broadly profile published Monday, she is at it again:

In the midst of all of this, she discovered she was pregnant. (Rachel declined to discuss the baby’s father.) She chose to keep the baby: “I couldn’t handle any more loss.” The trauma from her public lambasting led her to decide to name the child after the Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes.

“I’m naming him Langston because of Langston Hughes’ ‘Mother to Son’ poem,” Rachel explains. “Life hasn’t been easy for me at all, but I keep going. I’m still climbing, so don’t you sit down and stop. You keep going, and I want that to be a lesson for all my sons.”

Amazing. Langston Hughes, who is remembered in part for writing evocatively about the hardship of being black in the United States. Truly amazing.

*Correction, Dec. 7, 2015: This sentence originally misidentified the site that published the Dolezal profile as Vice. (Broadly is part of Vice Media but is considered a standalone site.)