Spokane’s NAACP leader has found herself in the midst of more racial controversy. This time she is not being targeted for being African-American, she is being accused of faking a black heritage. Rachel Dolezal, according to family members, has falsely portrayed herself as a black woman for years. Her birth certificate, however, states she was born to Caucasian parents.
Ruthanne Dolezal, the 37-year-old’s mother, said the family’s ancestry is Czech, German, Swedish and a hint of Native American heritage. Dolezal has also identified herself on applications as black, white and Native American. Her parents do not know why she has denied her true heritage and feel Dolezal’s efforts could have been more viable and valuable had she claimed her true racial background.
This new discovery has much of the African-America race outraged. Dolezal has established a wide-ranging career based on a lie. According to her parents, she has disowned them publicly with claims they would taint her image. Not only is the Spokane leader president of her local NAACP chapter, she also teaches many classes relative to black America at Eastern Washington University and has been deemed an academic expert on Black culture.
The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is a United States African-American civil rights organization. It was formed in 1909 with the mission to ensure the educational, political, social and economic equality of rights for all people and to eliminate racial discrimination and racial hatred. The headquarters for the NAACP is in Baltimore, Maryland.
Rachel Dolezal has not been available to answer the many questions which have risen due to her dishonesty. Whether she remains in her position has yet to be clarified, but many feel ethically there is no possibility of regaining the people’s trust. As such Rachel Dolezal, Spokane’s NAACP leader, is again at the center of racial controversy.
Since the allegations surfaced, Dolezal’s name and hashtag #transracial have been the top trending items on Twitter. The question which now arises is, Can people cross racial lines as they do with sexuality? The world celebrated as Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner with claims she is now free to live as her true self; is this the same with race?
Dolezal posted a photograph with a black man claiming the man as her father. The man, Albert Wilkerson, is not her biological parent nor stepfather. Her father is a former Montana Lincoln Country Commissioner named Larry Dolezal. Her birth certificate, which was filed in 1977 in Lincoln County, Montana, confirms Larry and Ruthanne are Dolezal’s parents.
Dolezal reportedly told multiple interviewers that she was born in a Montana teepee. According to her mother, “this is totally false.” Dolezal’s parents spent a short time living in a teepee in 1974 when they were first married; this occurred three years before she was born. Ruthanne has refuted several claims made by her daughter in reference to her upbringing and is not sure why she insists on lying.
Recent questions from the media surrounding her Dolezal’s racial identity have been brushed off with claims that she needs to speak directly with local NAACP leadership first. She added:
I feel like I owe my executive committee a conversation. The question is not as easy as it seems; there are a lot of complexities … and I do not know that everyone would understand that.
Spokane’s NAACP leader has often identified herself as being multi-racial, including black, on applications. This, however, is not true according to Dolezal’s parents and birth certificate. Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal state their daughter has portrayed herself as an African-American woman for years distancing herself from her true roots. The future of her role as the NAACP leader for Spokane has not been confirmed.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
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