Photo via KXLY
FILE- In this March 2, 2015 file photo, Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, poses for a photo in her Spokane, Wash. home. Dolezal is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she is white but has portrayed herself as black, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File
In this photo taken July 24, 2009, Rachel Dolezal, a leader of the Human Rights Education Institute, stands in front of a mural she painted at the institute's offices in coeur d'alene, Idaho. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)
(Photo via Facebook)
NEW YORK (AP) — The woman who resigned as head of a NAACP chapter after her parents said she is white said Tuesday that she started identifying as black around age 5, when she drew self-portraits with a brown crayon, and "takes exception" to the contention that she tried to deceive people.
Rachel Dolezal said on NBC's "Today" show that some of the discussion about her has been "viciously inhumane."
Asked by Matt Lauer if she is an "an African-American woman," Dolezal said: "I identify as black."
Dolezal's career as a civil rights activist in the Pacific Northwest crumbled in the past few days.
She resigned Monday as president of the Spokane, Washington, branch of the NAACP, lost her position as a part-time African studies instructor at a local university, was fired as a freelance newspaper columnist and is being investigated by city Ethics Commission over whether she lied about her race on her application when she landed an appointment to Spokane's police oversight board.
The furor has touched off national debate over racial identity and divided the NAACP itself. The civil rights organization has said that leadership jobs don't require a person to be black.
Dolezal, a 37-year-old woman with a light brown complexion and dark curly hair, graduated from historically black Howard University and was married to a black man. For years, she publicly described herself as black or partly black.
The uproar that led to her resignation began last week after Dolezal's parents said their daughter is white with a trace of Native American heritage. They produced photos of her as a girl with fair skin and straight blond hair.
"I really don't see why they're in such a rush to whitewash some of the work I have done, who I am, how I have identified," she said Tuesday.
Asked when she started "deceiving people," she replied, "I do take exception to that."
Shown a photo of herself with a much lighter complexion in her youth, she said: "I certainly don't stay out of the sun." But she added, "I also don't ... put on blackface as a performance."
"I have a huge issue with blackface," she said. "This is not some freak 'Birth of a Nation' mockery blackface performance. This is a very real, connected level. ... I've had to actually go there with the experience, not just the visible representation, but with the experience."
She said published accounts described her first as "transracial," then "biracial," then as "a black woman."
"I never corrected that," she conceded, adding that "it's more complex than being true or false in that particular instance."
Dolezal said that she told people that a black friend was her father because that's how she thinks of him.
Her sons are supportive, she said: One told her he views her as culturally black and racially "human."
Dolezal's parents denied that their daughter identified as black from a young age.
"No, that is a fabrication," Ruthanne Dolezal said in an interview with her husband on Fox News on Tuesday.
Asked about Dolezal's claim that she thought of a black family friend as her father, Larry Dolezal said: "That hurts deeply because for over 20 years Rachel fondly referred to me as 'Papa.'"
The Dolezals said they have not spoken to their daughter for more than two years.
"We are very alarmed at the level of dishonesty that Rachel is exhibiting," Ruthanne Dolezal said.
Let's hear from our in-house expert Mr. Humble :
The lies just never quit. She states she started identifying as a black at age 5. No way she remembers that. I guess she was identifying as black all her young years when she was blonde. She used the system to get extra points from on her SAT by lying, She got a government job by lying, she is simply a pathological liar.
She forgot to mention that she also "identifies" with being white and with being native American.....according to some of her past paperwork and one lawsuit. (Personally, I identify with being the best golfer in the world.) No one else believes that BS. What Rachel really should identify with is being a first class idiot. Now that is something we all can believe in!
Get over it !Please, lets just call it what it is. " She lied for her own personal gain " period. Most likely she lied on her resume, her job apps, her application for college, and in countless other areas where it would benefit her to be black. No different than if you or I lied and got caught, she needs to pay the price and let's be done with her. Instead, she will gain financially from her lies. This is the bigger injustice !!! She will get a book deal, a movie deal, and become a national speaker on "the life as a black through the eyes of a white"! Why? Simply because the media will give her lies a platform. So she lied, millions do everyday. Shame on those that did not validate her lies in the past and hired her based solely on her claims. Yes she lied more than most, but she is simply a liar. Let her get on with her life and live with the results of being caught in a lie.
Get over it !
Just my humble opinion