37 year-old Rachel Dolezal will most likely be the subject of numerous of race relations theses for many years to come.
Currently serving as president of her local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) office and a university lecturer on African-American studies, Dolezal has been a prominent face of black rights in her community of Spokane, Washington. She also, according to the NY Times, claimed for years that her heritage is partly black.
But this week, things took a strange turn for her this week when her caucasian parents claimed that her “partially-African” heritage is a falsehood.
Lawrence Dolezal, her father, told reporters that Rachel has been misrepresenting herself.
“She’s clearly our birth daughter, and we’re clearly Caucasian — that’s just a fact,” Lawrence A. Dolezal said in an interview from his home in Montana on Friday. “She is a very talented woman, doing work she believes in. Why can’t she do that as a Caucasian woman, which is what she is?”
Many pictures of Ms Dolezal have since circulated via social media, questioning her complexion, her blackness and even her “white privilege”. The most startling of the images, however, is one of her in her childhood years, appearing as a freckled, blue-eyed girl.
Of course, Twitter has also found the humour in the furore, with African-American culture-related questions being posed under the #AskRachel hashtag.
Despite the uproar, the NAACP has stood beside her, citing her work record and the absence of any race-related criteria as requirement for her to qualify for her position.
Baltimore, MD – 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.
Read the NY Times’s in-depth report for more information on Ms Dolezal.