Are There Things We Don’t Know About Rachel Dolezal?

Sam Seder

Sam Seder discusses the fact that Rachel Dolezal – an “African-American impersonator” – had a life – including an interracial marriage and upbringing – that people generally don’t know about.

According to The Seattle Times, the Spokane NAACP chapter president reportedly resigned from that position on June 15th, and she was fired from her job as a freelance newspaper columnist. She is being investigated by the city Ethics Commission over whether she lied about her race on her application when she landed an appointment to Spokane’s police-oversight board.

It’s unclear whether her contract as a part-time Africana Studies instructor at Eastern Washington University will be renewed.  Dolezal’s career as a civil-rights activist in the Pacific Northwest crumbled in the past weeks since her parents told the media that she doesn’t have any black ancestry, according to the Seattle Times.

The Spokane chapter of the NAACP is asking police to continue the investigation into hate mail sent to Dolezal. The civil-rights organization had received threatening letters and packages in its post office box starting in February, writes USA Today.

The Seattle Times wrote that Dolezal said that she started identifying as black around age 5, when she drew self-portraits with a brown crayon, and she “takes exception” to the contention she tried to deceive people.

She said on NBC’s “Today” that some of the discussion about her has been “viciously inhumane.”

Asked by Matt Lauer if she is “an African-American woman,” Dolezal said: “I identify as black.”  The furor has touched off national debate over racial identity and divided the NAACP itself.

However, the NAACP has said leadership jobs don’t require a person to be black.  Were whites involved with the formation of the NAACP?

According to the Glendale (California) News-Press:

“The NAACP was founded Feb. 12, 1909, on Lincoln’s birthday. It is the oldest, largest and most recognized grass-roots civil rights organization, with more than half a million members around the world, partly formed in response to the continuing horrific practice of lynching, and the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Ill.

“Appalled at the violence committed against blacks, a group of 60 white liberals, including Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, both descendants of abolitionists, along with William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz, called seven blacks to a meeting to discuss racial justice. Among the seven blacks were W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune and Mary Church Terrell.”

(Updated article),0,1651690.story


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