An embattled US activist at the centre of a racial storm has said she doesn’t give “two s***s” about comments claiming she has misrepresented herself as black.
The parents of Rachel Dolezal, 37, president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), have claimed their biological daughter is “misrepresenting” herself as an African American and that she is Caucasian.
“What I would say to them is that I don’t give two s***s what you guys think. You are so far done and out of my life,” she told KREM2 yesterday.
Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal, from Troy, Montana, claim that their daughter gradually began changing her appearance after her marriage ended in 2004.
“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,” Mrs Dolezal told reporters.
Pictures emerging of Ms Dolezal as a child – supplied by her estranged parents – appear to show her as a fair, blonde child.
But yesterday, responding to questions on her race for the first time, Ms Dolezal responded: “I actually don't like the term African-American. I prefer black”.
She continued: “I would say that if I was asked I would definitely say that yes I do consider myself to be black.”
Ms Dolezal, who also works part-time as an Africana Studies professor at Eastern Washington University, went on to say that said she could “understand” why some people may believe that she misrepresented herself.
She felt it was more important to “clarify” herself to the “black community,” rather than one that “quite frankly I don’t think really understands the definitions of race and ethnicity.”
The local chapter of the NAACP appears to be standing by Ms Dolezal. Former chapter president James Wilson implied to local media outlets that race was not relevant to the position.
“It is traditional to have a person of colour in that position, but that hasn’t always been the case in Spokane,” he said.
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