Guess why Rachel Dolezal is back in the news

There’s a name we haven’t seen around here in a while. The last we’d heard from the woman formerly known as Rachel Dolezal (she has since legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo) after her spectacular fall from grace at the NAACP was when she was charged with welfare fraud back in May of last year. The charges were fairly serious and held the possibility of prison time, but it was widely believed that she could avoid such a fate if she made restitution and straightened out her account with the state. Turns out that apparently never happened, because Diallo was back in court on New Year’s Eve and a trial date has been set. (Daily Mail)

The trial date has been set for Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP leader who pretended to be black before being unmasked as white, and is accused of welfare fraud.

The state of Washington’s case against Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, will begin in Spokane on March 4, pursuant to Judge Michelle Szambelan’s order from December 31.

Dolezal, 41, faces charges under her legal name of theft by welfare fraud, perjury and false verification for public assistance.

Court documents allege she illegally received $8,747 in food assistance and $100 in child care assistance from August 2015 through November 2017.

I freely admit to having some sympathy for Diallo, even if she did bring all of this upon herself. There’s a child involved and her financial problems seem to be daunting. She’s on the hook for almost $9,000 in illegitimate food assistance payments and has apparently burned through all of the more than $80K she received as an advance on her book, In Full Color. For her to be sentenced to prison over those government payments may be the right thing to do under the legal codes but I have to wonder what will become of her teenage son.

In addition to her legal troubles, Diallo has seen her entire life turned into a laughing stock and the stuff of opinion columns and television documentaries. And no, I’m not ignoring the fact that she caused all of the grief she’s experienced herself by pretending to be black when she was actually one of the more glaringly white women you’re likely to run across. But after her fraudulent persona was exposed, she paid a fairly hefty price. She lost her jobs at both the NAACP and the university where she had been teaching African-American studies. She was also booted from her spot on the Police Ombudsman Council.

While she clearly hid the money she received for her book, breaking the law in the process, we’re really not talking about all that much. $83K spread out over more than two years is still a rather low income when you have no other employment on the horizon. Since her exposure, she claims that she can’t even get a job as a grocery clerk under her new name because everyone recognizes her.

She probably should have considered moving to a more rural area under her new name and seeing if she could fly under the radar there. Either way, the charges she will face in March carry the possibility of fifteen years in prison. That seems fairly steep for $9K in fraud by a person who has already lost pretty much everything she’d had.