NAACP Leader Rachel Dolezal Speaks Out: 'I Do Consider Myself to Be Black'
By Emily Krauser
In the wake of her parents outing her as white, a local NAACP leader is defending herself.
Rachel Dolezal, head of the local NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington, told KREM reporter Shawn Chitnis, "Actually, I don't like the term African-American; I prefer black. So, if asked, I would say, yes, I consider myself to be black."
During the interview with the Spokane CBS affiliate, Dolezal explained that everything she is being questioned about -- including her real race, biological parents and her children -- are "a very private matter, especially getting into some of these childhood and past family members who have had a history of litigation."
Dolezal has two adopted brothers who are black, Ezra and Izaiah, as well as a son, Franklin Moore, who is of African-American descent. She obtained legal custody of Izaiah, now 21, in 2010, after he sought emancipation from Dolezal's biological parents, Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal. While he is her adopted brother, Dolezal refers to Izaiah as her son. "I am his mom," she told KREM. "I do see myself as [that]. He's not my brother. That's not our relationship."
She also revealed that she doesn't consider her biological parents her "real parents," nor does she speak to them due to a current legal issue.
See her full interview with Chitnis in the video below:
Dolezal has publicly identifying as African-American for years and reported on a city application for the Police Ombudsman Commission, which she has been chairman of since January, that she was white, black and American Indian.
Her parents recently told multiple outlets that their daughter has no trace of African-American ethnicity. They also showed CNN their daughter's Montana birth certificate, which states she was born to two Caucasian parents. "We are her birth parents," Lawrence Dolezal said. "We do not understand why she feels it's necessary to misrepresent her ethnicity."
On Friday, the NAACP said they stood behind Dolezal. "One's racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership," the national office said in a statement. "The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal's advocacy record."
Dolezal released her own statement today. "As you probably know by now, there are questions and assumptions swirling in national and global news about my family, my race, my credibility, and the NAACP. I have discussed the situation, including personal matters, with the Executive Committee. I support their decision to wait until Monday to make a statement."
"The national and regional NAACP have recommended this same strategy," she added. "I ask that all members of the NAACP respect this process as well. There are many layers to this situation... My sons and I would appreciate your thoughts, prayers and support during the interlude. I will see you Monday!"
Despite her most recent comments, her adopted brother Ezra, 22, paints a different picture, claiming he was given a warning back in 2012. "She just told me, 'Over here, I'm going to be considered black, and I have a black father. Don't blow my cover,'" he told BuzzFeed News. Ezra added that Rachel never gave him "any logical explanation" for why she wanted to change her identity, but he also never questioned it.
As of Friday, the Spokane Police Department announced that all cases they had involving Dolezal had been suspended. "If new information comes to light we can investigate that information," SPD leaders wrote on Twitter. In the past, Dolezal had filed numerous police reports claiming she had been the victim of hate crimes and threats.
Find out how celebs have reacted to Dolezal's claims in the video below.