June 12, 2015

It's an unusual story, a white couple have spoken out to reveal that their daughter has falsely claimed to be an African-American woman. Rachel Dolezal is the President of the Spokane NAACP chapter and has been passing herself off as an African-American, that is for certain. It isn't that odd that it's escaped scrutiny until now, because a woman with her hairstyle could easily pass as black in that very white part of Washington State. But why did she go to such lengths to claim to be something she is not?

Is this really a 'big deal?' Some seem to think so, and they believe it's worth investigating.

On the NAACP Spokane Facebook page, a picture was posted earlier this year showing Dolezal and an African-American man. In the post, he's identified as Dolezal's father. KXLY4's Jeff Humphrey asked Dolezal about that claim Wednesday afternoon.

"Ma'am, I was wondering if your dad really is an African-American man," Humphrey asked.

"I don't understand the question," Dolezal answered. "I did tell you [that man in the picture] is my dad."

"Are your parents white?" Humphrey asked. At that point, Dolezal removed the microphone, ended the interview and walked away.

Her parents said they would have answered the question of her racial identity if they were asked, and up until now, it hasn't come up. Rachel hasn't had anything to do with her parents, Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal, and they don't understand why she wants to misrepresent her identity. The Montana couple says that her transformation occurred in 2007, and

'she has never claimed to be bi-racial or African-American in our presence.'

The reason for the rift between Rachel and her parents?

The same day her parents were interviewed, Rachel Dolezal told KREM 2 News that she does not speak to her parents because of an on-going legal issue.

"There is a lawsuit that's been going on for almost a year, once I supported my sister and allegations against her older brother," said Rachel.

All that aside, the NAACP doesn't hold her misrepresentation against her and she still has their full support. Their statement:

NAACP Spokane Washington Branch President Rachel Dolezal is enduring a legal issue with her family, and we respect her privacy in this matter. 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. In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational, and economic justice for all people, and we encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization.

It is a baffling scenario. Rachel has done good work towards promoting racial equality, so the outpouring of hate is excessive and misdirected. It's no surprise that her parents are very much against her, not just for her idiosyncratic racial identity, but due to a deeper, emotional issue that divides the family. This is clearly an act of spite to get back at Rachel.

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