“The Spokane woman who quit as head of her local NAACP chapter days after her parents said she was lying about her race said Tuesday she still considers herself black and that her situation is “at the core of definitions of race.” The bizarre case of Rachel Dolezal continued to play out as the 37-year-old appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and seemed to turn the traditional definition of race on its head.
““I identify as black,” she told Matt Lauer. “I hope that that can drive at the core of definitions of race, ethnicity, culture, self-determination, personal agency and, ultimately, empowerment,” she said at another point in the interview. Dolezal said she has always thought of herself as black, and that as a child, she would draw herself in pictures with a brown crayon with black curly hair.
During the interview, Lauer inquired if Dolezal could pinpoint what it is about African-Americans she finds so appealing that would motivate her to identify as one. Dolezal responded: “Well, I just told you that, didn’t I? I mean, it’s true, I’ve felt out of place my entire life as a white person, and being black just seemed more natural; instinctive, sort of. Then again, there’s also the fact that black people in America are at an advantage over other races, so why not combine the two useful things together, you know?”
The NBC host seemed a bit confused by Dolezal’s reply, and asked her to elaborate: “What do you mean by, ‘Black people are at an advantage over other races in America? Are you saying life is easier for African-Americans here?’”
Dolezal continued, “That’s exactly what I mean. Don’t look so surprised; everybody’s always complaining how black people are being arrested all over the country, domestic violence seems to be synonymous with black families and then you have the recent events in Ferguson and Baltimore. But, on the other hand, things are much better for African-Americans now than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Today, black people are able to find jobs much more easily than before. Also, the situation in schools and universities has improved greatly and there’s always the appeal of African-American men. Don’t tell me those are downsides of being black in America today?”
The ex-NAACP leader also added: “I may have had to step down from my previous position as head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP], but I don’t regret it one bit. And there’s an example all black people need to look up to – President Obama. He never would have become President if he hadn’t openly admitted to being black, even though he’s a child of mixed races. That’s something all black people should learn from.”