The parents of Rachel Dolezal, head of a local National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) chapter in Washington, say she is pretending to be black.
When asked about the issue, Dolezal said the “question is not as easy as it seems.”
Dolezal, an adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University told the Spokane Review, that there are “a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.”
She also added that “We’re all from the African continent,” apparently in reference to studies tracing the scientific origins of human life to Africa.
On Thursday she also said she felt like she owed her executive committee “a conversation” about what she called a “multi-layered issue.”
Dolezal’s parents, who are both Caucasian, say they don’t understand why their daughter started lying about her ethnicity.
“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself,” Dolezal’s mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, told the 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.”
Larry Dolezal, Rachel’s father, thinks it is linked to her work as an activist. “She has over the past 20 years assimilated herself into the African American community through her various advocacy and social justice work, and so that may be part of the answer.”
Rachel has not been in contact with her parents for several years, and her father told Buzzfeed News that she “doesn’t want us visible in the Spokane area in her circle because we’re Caucasian.”
Her parents claim that a teenager whom Rachel referred to as her son is actually her adopted brother who decided when he was 16 to go live with Rachel.
In local media, Dolezal previously reportedly claimed her parents physically abused her and her siblings. “They would punish us by skin complexion.” The article goes on to describe how her parents reportedly whipped them. Her parents said those claims were not true.
When asked by a reporter earlier this year whether she was African American, Dolezal said she didn’t understand the question and walked away from the camera.
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