Matt Lauer interviews Rachel Dolezal
Rachel Dolezal, the president of the Spokane Washington NAACP, was interviewed by NBC Today’s Matt Lauer. Dolezal is the woman whose parents outed her out as a white woman.
Dolezal did not back down from how she self identifies. She said she is black. “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and black curly hair,” Dolezal said.
When asked about Jonathan Capehart’s article where he brought up blackface she said, “I have a huge issue with blackface. This is not some freak ‘Birth of a Nation’ mockery blackface performance,” she said. “This is on a very real, connected level. How I’ve had to go there with the experience, not just a visible representation, but with the experience.”
When asked about whether she would do things the same way given the uproar she basically said she would.
“As much as this discussion has somewhat been at my expense recently, and in a very sort of viciously inhumane way come out of the woodwork, the discussion is really about what it is to be human,” Rachel Dolezal said. “I hope that that can drive at the core of definitions of race, ethnicity, culture, self determination, personal agency and, ultimately, empowerment.”
Matt Lauer asked Dolezal if she did anything to darken her skin. She said she does not stay away from the sun.
It was evident there is much friction between Rachel and her birth parents as she refers to them by name and not any mother or father terms. “I really don’t see why they’re in such a rush to whitewash some of the work that I have done and who I am and how I have identified,” Rachel Dolezal said.
While some in the black intelligentsia like Michael Eric Dyson and syndicated columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson have come to her defense, Rachel Dolezal does not seem to be convincing many as she continues to take incoming flak. What is your take? Should her deception be considered a slight on black women? How specifically has her behavior hurt black women? If race is a social construct won’t there ultimately be mutual co-option?