Perhaps we African-Americans should feel flattered that Rachel Dolezal wanted so desperately to be one of us.
Or maybe we should feel insulted, as some of her critics say, by her demonstration of white privilege even as she boldly lived a life of opposition to it.
You know who I'm talking about. Everybody's been talking about Dolezal, the 37-year-old president of the Spokane NAACP chapter who resigned Monday after she was outed by her own parents as a white woman who had been masquerading as black for 10 years.
Obviously there are a lot of complicated issues going on between Dolezal and her parents, who quite clearly are white. But, out of all the intriguing questions that Dolezal's chosen lifestyle raise for the rest of us, the biggest was asked by her father in an NBC interview: "She's a very talented woman doing work she believes in. Why can't she do that as a Caucasian woman?"
Why indeed? Not that there's anything wrong with that, as far as the rest of us are concerned. Blacks and whites have worked together in the NAACP since its founding more than 100 years ago. Why did she have to lie about her race?
Ever since she was kindergarten age she has identified with African-Americans, she told Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today Show." She recalled how at age 5 she "drew self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon."
Yet her brother Ezra, an adopted African-American sibling, told Buzzfeed News that she was made to feel ostracized and discriminated against at historically black Howard University, where she received a master's degree in fine art and also filed an unsuccessful discrimination suit against the university.
Earlier this year, her racial transformation came to light after she was accused of falsifying reports of multiple hate crimes in Spokane. In February Dolezal told local police and news reporters in Spokane that she found an envelope containing threatening mail in the civil rights group's post office box.
But detectives determined that lack of a postal cancelation, time stamp or bar code on the envelope indicated it had not come through the postal system. More likely, police said, it was planted by someone who possessed the chapter's postal key.
In her online bio, Dolezal, who teaches classes at Eastern Washington University, describes being the victim of "at least eight documented hate crimes (targeting her) and her children during her residency in North Idaho."
However, after some digging that included a public records request, Spokane television station KXLY said it could only confirm three incidents, none of which offered police enough evidence to prosecute anyone.
Admirable as Dolezal's civil rights work may have been, the cloud of suspicions over her reported hate crimes cast a dark cloud over the entire mission of her organization. When her leadership became a bigger distraction than a benefit, she had to go.
Yet Dolezal's negrophilia raises intriguing questions, including the validity of "transracial" as a description of her transformation. Many people raise the timely issue of whether Dolezal should be accepted as a self-made black, much as Caitlyn Jenner wants to be accepted as a woman.
That's a stretch too far in the minds of many. While Dolezal wants "to be perceived as black, in a racialized American environment where that matters," Meredith Talusan, a transgender writer-photographer writes in The Guardian, "(t)rans people transition in order to be the gender we feel inside."
Someday "there may come a time when posers will appropriate trendy trans culture for profit," she writes, but "right now, there's no advantage to transitioning when you're not trans."
Yet Dolezal also says she wants to look the way she feels inside. That's her right, as long as she's honest about it. Jenner made news by "living his truth," as many in the transgender community say. Dolezal lived a lie.
She chose to "identify as black." But the irony of her revolt against white privilege, many have noted, is in how much it displays her white privilege. Impatient with the challenge of demonstrating a genuine partnership with people of color, she apparently took the shortcut of cosmetic changes and brazen deception. Our racial culture already has enough lies without her adding to them.