Remember Rachel Dolezal? She’s the former President of the NAACP Spokane chapter who publicly identified as being Black but her biological parents, at least, are Caucasian. She was forced to resign her post as President after the media discovered the discrepancy. Things have gotten worse for her since then, but Rachel maintains that she is a Black woman.
Rachel insists in a new Vanity Fair interview that she didn’t deceive anyone.
It’s not a costume. I don’t know spiritually and metaphysically how this goes, but I do know that from my earliest memories I have awareness and connection with the black experience, and that’s never left me. It’s not something that I can put on and take off anymore. Like I said, I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I’m not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be—but I’m not.”
Unfortunately, others don’t seem to share Rachel’s perspective.
In addition to stepping down from her post with the NAACP, Rachel was asked to step down from a police oversight committee, and her contract with Eastern Washington University, where she taught in the African Studies Program, was not renewed.
I’ve got to figure it out before August 1, because my last paycheck was like $1,800 in June. [I lost] friends and the jobs and the work and—oh, my God—so much at the same time.”
I’m not surprised by this, but I can’t help but feel badly for her. Something is clearly going on with Rachel. She said she’s spent a lot of time developing her sense of identity.
It’s taken my entire life to negotiate how to identify, and I’ve done a lot of research and a lot of studying. I could have a long conversation, an academic conversation about that. I don’t know. I just feel like I didn’t mislead anybody; I didn’t deceive anybody. If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that’s more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m black, and there’s a difference in those terms.
“It’s hard to collapse it all into just a single statement about what is. You can’t just say in one sentence what is blackness or what is black culture or what makes you who you are.”
Ironically, Rachel is currently earning money doing braids and weaves. I hope something works out for her. This whole thing is going from bizarre to just sad.