An NAACP leader has come under fire for presenting herself as a black woman for years. Since November of last year, Rachel Dolezal, 37, has been the president of the Spokane chapter, and works as a part-time professor of the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University. She also serves as the chairwoman of the city’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission. According to the Huffington Post, she identified herself as white, black and American Indian on her application. Now, her parents have outed her as a Caucasian woman of European descent.
“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself,” her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, told the Spokesman-Review. “Her effectiveness in the causes of the African-American community would have been so much more viable, and she would have been more effective if she had just been honest with everybody.”
Considered “one of the Inland Northwest’s most prominent civil rights activists,” Rachel, born in Troy, Montana, allegedly began to “disguise herself” as a black woman in 2006 or 2007 after the family adopted four African-American children. Her parents also claim Rachel is passing off her adopted younger brother as her son.
In an interview with KXLY4’s Jeff Humphrey, Rachel avoided questions of her ethnicity.
“Are you African-American?” Humphrey asked.
“I don’t understand the question,” she replied.
Dolezal also has a history of reporting hate crimes in Spokane, bringing light to nine alleged cases over the past decade because of her racial identity. The NAACP has issued the following statement:
For 106 years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has held a long and proud tradition of receiving support from people of all faiths, races, colors and creeds. 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.
Hate language sent through mail and social media along with credible threats continue to be a serious issue for our units in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation. We take all threats seriously and encourage the FBI and the Department of Justice to fully investigate each occurrence.