Who gets to define your race?

Rachel Dolezal is on the talk show circuit now, still insisting she's black. Her stubbornness is challenging us to think about racial identity in new ways.

Is it something your ancestors dictate or whatever you feel in your soul? Who gets to police those boundaries? Is skin color still the defining force?

The story of Dolezal — the white civil rights activist in Spokane who's been passing for black — has sparked soul-searching and debate.

You can join that conversation in today's Times video chat at 12:30 p.m. PT, as columnist Sandy Banks, Dexter Thomas who studies and writes on race and USC law professor Camille Gear Rich talk about Dolezal's charade and the idea of "elective race" and "transracial" identity.

Post your thoughts below in the comments or tweet us using #DefiningRace.


Why Rachel Dolezal would want to pass as a black woman

Op-Ed: Why would someone try to occupy a position of oppression? The answer has a lot to do with the spaces that Rachel Dolezal had advanced in: political activism and academia.

Spokane's NAACP leader would not be first to pass herself off as black

Allyson Hobbs literally wrote the book on pretending to be a different race. "Part of what we really struggle with is this notion that, if given the choice, a white person would not choose to give up their privilege of being white," said Hobbs. "I don't get the sense she's using a black identity in an opportunistic way. I think a lot of people just feel like, oh my God, why would someone choose to be black?"

Rachel Dolezal throws doubt on her biological parents: 'I haven't had a DNA test'

Rachel Dolezal's daylong media blitz in which she denied that she is a white woman posing as black culminated Tuesday night with a claim that she's not sure her white parents are her real parents.

Rachel Dolezal's story, a study of race and identity, gets 'crazier and crazier'

Rachel Dolezal has sparked a national conversation about some of the most sensitive issues in American life — race, gender, identity and cultural inheritance. Chances are, however, it is not the teachable moment the self-made civil rights activist once dreamed about.

Getting a clearer view of a white woman's black deception

Sandy Banks: I can't help but pity Rachel Dolezal, the white woman whose masquerade in modern-day blackface has been entertaining us since last week.