UPDATE: The NAACP released a statement regarding Rachel Dolezal today, June 12: “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." For the full statement, click here.
Rumors are swirling on social media, saying that Rachel Dolezal, President of the Spokane, Washington Chapter of the NAACP, a prominent civil rights activist and part-time Africana Studies professor at Eastern Washington University, has been misleading people about her ethnicity for years, and now her parents have come forward with photographic proof.
The woman’s mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, showed KREM.com, the official website for KREM-TV in Spokane, photos of their fair and freckled blonde daughter.
Rachel’s parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, told KREM 2 News on Thursday, June 11 that their daughter is Caucasian, and said she is specifically German and Czech.
Her parents also said that their daughter has always identified with the African-American culture, and had black siblings who were adopted. They confirmed she went to school in Mississippi, and was part of a primarily African-American community.
The Dolezals said their daughter married and later divorced an African-American man, and that after the 2004 divorce Rachel began “identifying differently.”
Rachel’s father also said she “doesn’t want us visible in the Spokane area in her circle because we’re Caucasian.”
"Rachel has wanted to be somebody she's not. She's chosen not to just be herself, but to represent herself as an African-American woman or a biracial person, and that's simply not true,” insisted Ruthanne Dolezal.
The same day her parents were interviewed, Rachel told KREM that she does not speak to her parents because of an ongoing legal issue.
KREM 2 asked Rachel to address the claims that she misrepresented her race.
"I can understand that, and like I said, it's more important to me to clarify that to the black community, and with my executive board, than it really is for me to explain it to a community that I quite frankly don't think understands the definitions of race and ethnicity," said Dolezal.
According to Rachel’s Eastern Washington University staff biography, Dolezal received her master’s degree from Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C.
“Her passion for civil rights is influenced by her years in Mississippi, where she advocated for equal rights and participated in community development,” the bio states.
Rachel Dolezal is now facing a city ethics investigation after allegedly misrepresenting herself on her application for the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission as having several ethnic origins, including white, black and American Indian.