Rachel Dolezal, the head of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said Friday in an interview with a CBS News affiliate that she is black, a day after her parents claimed she is white.
Rachel says she is not in touch with her parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, due to a lawsuit that doesn’t identify them as her biological parents.
“I don’t give two s**ts about what you think. You’re so far done and out of my life,” Rachel said in the interview to KREM 2 News, cited by the Guardian, adding: “Yes, I do consider myself to be black and that’s because … you know, that’s how I identify." She added that the controversy surrounding her reflected ignorance over race and ethnicity.
“I actually don’t like the term ‘African American.’ I prefer the term ‘black,’” Rachel said, according to Huffington Post, which cited the interview, adding: “It’s more important for me to clarify that with the black community and my executive board than it is to explain it to a community that I, quite frankly, don’t think really understands the definitions of race and ethnicity.”
The city of Spokane in Washington is investigating if the civil rights activist misidentified her race on the application filed by her for ombudsman commission, the Guardian reported.
In another interview with KREM-TV on Friday, her parents said her ancestry was German and Czech, with traces of Native American. Rachel had claimed that a black man shown in a picture, uploaded on Facebook, was her real father, according to reports on Thursday.
“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 bi-racial person and that’s simply not true,” Ruthanne said, according to Guardian, which cited the KREM-TV interview. On Thursday, she reportedly showed a photo of Rachel as a white child with freckles and said: "It is very disturbing that she has become so dishonest."
Following the claim by her parents, Rachel's earlier complaints of receiving hate mails and nooses placed around her office have come under question. She had claimed that a letter sent to her in March was the ninth hate crime against her in less than a decade. The Sopkane Police Department, investigating the hate mail claims, suspended all cases involving Rachel on Friday, and said in a tweet: "If new information comes to light we can investigate that information."
Rachel’s race controversy has gained wide attention on social media with people’s comments under hashtags #transracial and #wrongskin trending on Twitter.
Just a friendly reminder that a black person passing as white was once a criminal offense. Enjoy ur day. #RachelDolezal
— Amanda Seales (@amandaseales) June 12, 2015
Now we have to debate whether people are born black or is it environmental or learned. #RachelDolezal
— Anthony Cumia (@AnthonyCumia) June 13, 2015
If #RachelDolezal calls herself "transracial" & identifies as black then I'm "transrich" & identify as a millionaire trapped in middle class
— Meg (@CuriousMsMeg) June 13, 2015
— Olivia A. Cole (@RantingOwl) June 13, 2015