If you know anything about segregation and race-relations post-American slavery, then you know there is a long-standing history of racial “passing” in the States. All throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, light-skinned Black men and women masqueraded as White citizens in order to be accepted in society without the threat of racially-charged hate, violence and unequal opportunities. Even today, countless people of African descent shun their Blackness with bleaching creams, European assimilation and colorism. But rarely do you hear of a White woman downplaying her European ancestry and disguising herself as a Black woman by baking her skin and adding coily texture to her hair.
Well, I now present to you Rachel Dolezal: The president of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington, whose parents say she’s been deceiving people for years by pretending to be Black, reports KREM 2 News.
The news came after Dolezal made headlines for receiving racially-charged threats in the mail. While authorities began digging for the culprit, Dolezal’s parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, came forward Thursday saying they want people to know the truth about their 37-year-old daughter.
“Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” said Ruthanne Dolezal.
The Dolezals said Rachel, who went to school in Mississippi and was part of a predominately Black community, has always identified with African Americans, especially since she grew up with Black siblings, who were adopted by the family.
Ruthanne and Larry added that Rachel married and later divorced a Black man. They said that after the divorce in 2004, Rachel started claiming that she was partially Black with bi-racial parents, and they began noticing a change in her physical appearance.
“Rachel is a master artist. So she’s able to disguise herself and make her appearance look like any ethnicity,” said Mrs. Dolezal. But apart from the apparent difference in skin color, her parents aren’t sure how she was able to make the change.
A young Rachel Dolezal
Following her parents interview, Rachel told reporters that she does not communicate with Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal due to an on-going legal issue, and said that she doesn’t consider her biological parents her real parents.
When asked to address the public’s concerns that she’s been faking her racial identity, Rachel said:
“I can understand that. And like I said, it’s more important to me to clarify that to the black community, and with my executive board, than it really is for me to explain it to a community that I quite frankly don’t think understands the definitions of race and ethnicity.”
Since her parents have come forward with this revelation, people all over the ‘net have been shocked, outraged, buzzing and debating about this matter. In response, the NAACP released a statement Friday addressing the issue:
“One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership. The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record.”
I just can’t believe this: A White woman who really believes (in her mind) that she is Black?! If this ain’t some sh*t here, I don’t know what is!