Rachel Dolezal shocked the world five months ago when it came to light that the former Spokane, Washington, NAACP leader was a white woman posing as an African-American.
During an appearance on The Real on Monday, Dolezal explained that while she may have been born biologically white, she self-identifies as being black.
“I acknowledge that I was biologically born white to white parents, but I identify as black,” Dolezal told cohosts Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Adrienne Baillon and Jeannie Mai.
— CNN International (@cnni) November 3, 2015
Dolezal said she has identified as being black since she was “really young,” adding that “sometimes how we feel is more powerful than how we’re born, and blackness can be defined as philosophical, cultural, biological, you know, it’s a lot of different things to a lot of different people.”
This reiterates what Dolezal said during an appearance on the Today show soon after the news broke in June and she lost her position as the president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP as well as a part-time teaching job at Eastern Washington University as a result of the misrepresentation. She noted then that she identifies racially as “human” and culturally as “black.”
— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) October 30, 2015
“I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon,” she said in June. “That’s how I was portraying myself.”
In July, she also told Vanity Fair that she identifies as being black.
“I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I’m not confused about that any longer,” she told the magazine. “I think the world might be – but I’m not.”
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 2, 2015
She added, “I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m black, and there’s a difference in those terms.”
Dolezal has been scrutinized and criticized but she has also found some high-profile support. In the November issue of Vanity Fair, Rihanna, 27, said she thought Dolezal was a “bit of a hero” because she “kind of flipped on society a little bit.”
“Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black?” Rihanna asked in the interview. “Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”
What are your thoughts? Is this any different than Bruce Jenner identifying as a woman?