Dear Rachel Dolezal: Being a ‘Welfare Queen’ Actually Makes You White

Rachel Dolezal poses for a photo with her son, Langston, at the bureau of the Associated Press in Spokane, Wash., on March 20, 2017.
Rachel Dolezal poses for a photo with her son, Langston, at the bureau of the Associated Press in Spokane, Wash., on March 20, 2017.
Photo: Nicholas K. Geranios (AP Images)

Rachel Dolezal just can’t seem to keep her name out of the headlines. She probably doesn’t want to. She gained notoriety for pretending to be a black woman and serving as president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP. She has done interviews defending her lie and is even the subject of a Netflix documentary that examines her life since her lie was exposed.


In 2016, she legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo, because nothing says “I’m black, y’all; for real” like taking on an African name and starting a hair-braiding business in your kitchen.

Not only is Dolezal guilty of racial fraud, but she has now been charged with welfare fraud, according to a report from KHQ.

Court documents show that Dolezal, under her new legal name, illegally received $8,747 in food assistance and $100 in child care assistance from August 2015 through November 2017. She is charged with first-degree theft by welfare fraud, perjury in the second degree and false verification for public assistance. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

In March 2017, an investigator with the Washington state Department of Social and Health Service’s Office of Fraud and Accountability received information that Dolezal had published a book. The investigator said he’d heard her say she was getting public assistance, but also knew that a typical publishing contract included payments from $10,000 to $20,000.

After conducting a review of her records, the investigator found that Dolezal reported she received less than $500 a month in child support payments and that that was her only source of income. When asked how she was making ends meet, she said she was barely able to do it “with help from friends and gifts.”


Her self-employment records—including bank statements from 2015 to present—were subpoenaed and showed that she had deposited about $83,924 into her bank account in monthly installments between August 2015 and September 2017—money she received from publication of her book, speaking engagements, soap-making, doll-making and artwork sales.

The state of Washington now seeks to prosecute her and get restitution. It is also requesting that she be disqualified from receiving food assistance for at least 12 months.


Oh, Rachel. Someone should have told you. Being a “welfare queen” is a white thing, not a black one. In fact, white Americans receive more welfare benefits than anyone else.

Congratulations. You played yourself.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.