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The Rachel Divide (2018)

TV-MA | | Documentary | 27 April 2018 (USA)
Rachel Dolezal becomes a social phenomenon when she passes herself off as an African American and becomes the head of her local N.A.A.C.P. chapter.


Laura Brownson
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Rachel Dolezal ... Herself
Franklin Dolezal ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Siobhan Abrams Siobhan Abrams ... Herself
Vanessa Bayer ... Herself (archive footage)
Tim Black ... Himself
Tamar Braxton ... Herself (archive footage)
Esther Dolezal Esther Dolezal ... Himself
Izaiah Dolezal Izaiah Dolezal ... Himself
Lawrence Dolezal Lawrence Dolezal ... Himself (archive footage)
Ruthanne Dolezal Ruthanne Dolezal ... Herself (archive footage)
Whoopi Goldberg ... Herself (archive footage)
Savannah Guthrie ... Herself (archive footage)
Melissa Harris-Perry ... Herself (archive footage)
Chris Hayes ... (archive footage)
Adrienne Houghton ... Herself (archive footage)


Rachel Dolezal became infamous when she was unmasked as a white woman living as the black head of her local N.A.A.C.P. chapter. Her unbelievable story issued a direct challenge to the sensitive topics of race and identity, while playing into the age of viral media. Whether she was hated or simply misunderstood, Dolezal touched a collective nerve in the racially charged contemporary, causing her to burst into the public consciousness. Filming exclusively with Dolezal, her sons, and her adoptive sister Esther, documentarian Laura Brownson delves into the motivations and personal life of this divisive and controversial figure; in doing so, she explores the troubled past that has informed Dolezal's confusing present and uncertain future. Executive produced by Academy Award®-winner Roger Ross Williams, The Rachel Divide is a fully realized portrait of a life more complex than any tabloid would lead its readers to believe. The film demands the question: Is Dolezal truly "trans-black," as ...

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Who does she think she is?




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Release Date:

27 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rachel Divide See more »

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Franklin: All my mom did is say she was black and people just lost their minds
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User Reviews

Black and White
29 April 2018 | by shaunvanhaelewijnSee all my reviews

I'm from Belgium, so I never really experienced the scandal as Americans did. I can vaguely remember that it even made the newspapers here. I must have read this article years ago. When I opened Netflix I recognized Rachel. So I started watching.

This documentary was actually better than I thought it would be. The main focus is clearly on Rachel herself, and how this scandal affects her children, family and in general her whole social life. From the beginning you get the straight feeling that this story is not an easy one to tell. There is no black and white (get it!? ;-) ), with a big lie in between. This is obviously a woman who has been struggling with her identity for many years. You do start to feel she cannot be categorized as a liar. That would just be to simple. I think Rachel does believe that she never really lied. Perhaps she was just really creative with the "truth", so she could continue being the person she loved the most. But when you ignore a certain part of you, it will come back to bite you. That's exactly what happened. Towards the end you do feel Rachel is pushing it. Her family is clearly crumbling, and trying to get away from her. I got the feeling she did see this happening, but just couldn't help herself. Her son was actually quite spot on: "You can't tell my mom what to do". Clearly frustrated. This kid just wishing for life getting back to normal. She's like a dog being hit with a stick and coming back for more. All this for acceptance she will never get.

Being an European I do watch at identity a bit different then most Americans do. And I do feel this woman was born a few decades to early. Whether you like it or not, we've gone from a world to a little village in a few decades. Soon there will be no more "race". So identifying yourself with a certain culture will be a social choice. In that way I think the black community, understandably very hurt about the struggle they already had, made a big mistake here. Instead of demonizing this woman, they could have joined this idea. Making acceptance a universal thing. Not just related to the way you look and your skin color. Isn't this what they have been fighting for? Not being judged on the way you look, but who you are? Equal opportunities? Doesn't that go for a person, who is white but feels black? Or maybe it is just all very black and white. Who am I to say!?

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