A prominent NAACP leader, civil rights activist and African studies professor is a Montana-born white woman who passed herself off as black for years, her parents told the Daily News.
Rachel Dolezal, 37, head of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter, even identified her adopted kid brother — an African-American youth — as her son while perpetuating the racial ruse.
“She would put her hair in long extensions and do African hairstyles, and she liked to identify with the culture,” her mother Ruthanne Dolezal told the News.
“But she was who she was.”
Her brother Izaiah was a 10-month-old black child when her parents adopted the boy in June 1994, according to Ruthanne and her husband Larry.
The Caucasian couple adopted two other African-American kids and a fourth black child from Haiti. Rachel and her older brother, Joshua, are the only white children in the family.
The parents said their daughter’s actual ethnicity is a mix of German and Swedish on the mom’s side, Czech and German on the dad’s side.
Dolezal became estranged from her parents around 2007 as she began to adopt her African-American identity.
“That’s when we first starting noticing hostility towards us,” said Ruthanne. “It was terrible. It was a great grief to us. We had to trust that something down the road would change.
“But what has changed has been alarming and disturbing, because she has become more and more deceptive.”
Spokane officials said Dolezal was under investigation for listing herself as black, white and American Indian on an application for a spot on the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.
“If this is true, I’ll be very disappointed,” said City Council President Ben Stuckart.
She currently chairs the Spokane police oversight commission, and took over in January as head of the NAACP.
Dolezal came under scrutiny earlier this week when Spokane police raised questions about her claims of receiving threatening hate mail.
The NAACP head told cops she found an envelope in the chapter’s post office box containing 20 pages of notes, including pictures of lynchings and the term “war pig.”
But a police investigation revealed the envelope was never canceled or timestamped, and was placed in a box accessible only to postal workers — or someone with a key.
Ruthanne Dolezal said she wasn’t surprised that Rachel pulled off her strange scam: “She is very skillful with makeup. She is an artist. She can make herself appear as any ethnicity.”
Rachel Dolezal — whose Twitter handle is “@HarlmRenaissanc” — proved elusive in interviews with Washington state media.
“That question is not as easy as it seems,” she told The Spokesman-Review newspaper when asked about her race. “There’s a lot of complexities.”
Dolezal abruptly ended a Q&A with a local TV reporter, abandoning her purse and keys as she ducked into a nearby clothing boutique.
“Are you African-American?” asked the reporter from KXLY-TV.
After a stunned pause, she replied: ““I don’t understand the question.”
“Are you parents — are they white?” the reporter asked before Dolezel bolted.
She did not return a Friday call for comment from The News.
Her father Larry, speaking to the News, said he would encourage his daughter to come clean about her deception.
I would say, ‘We love you. Please be real,’” said Larry Dolezal.
A birth certificate and childhood pictures backed up the claims of the Dolezal clan, first made to the Couer D’Alene Press — a newspaper in Idaho.
Dolezal, who attended historically black Howard University, now teaches African studies at Eastern Washington University. School officials declined comment on the flap about her race.
Dolezal’s other tall tales including stories about growing up in a teepee, hunting for food with bows and arrows, an abusive stepfather and living in South Africa, her parents said.
Some of her relatives did live in South Africa for four years, but “Rachel did not even ever visit us there,” her mom said.
Dolezal’s university biography identifies her as a popular speaker and visual artist whose “efforts were met with opposition by North Idaho white supremacy groups, the Ku Klux Klan, the Neo Nazis and the Aryan Nations.”
It also alleged that “at least eight documented hate crimes targeted Dolezal and her
children during her residency in North Idaho” — a claim contradicted by her parents.
Dolezal’s Facebook page is filled with posts about civil rights marches, alleged instances of racism and supposed details about her childhood.
In one November 2013 post, she offered tips for black viewers to watch the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave.”
“Not the best film to take a white partner on a first date to,” she advised. “Sit in the top, back row so that during the movie people aren’t constantly looking at you to monitor the ‘Black response’ to the film.”
Source: Daily Mail