Uncategorized

Reflections On Rachel Dolezal: When Race, Identity Collide

FILE - In this July 24, 2009, file photo, Rachel Dolezal, a leader of the Human Rights Education Institute, stands in front of a mural she painted at the institute's offices in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Dolezal, now president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP, is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she is white but has portrayed herself as black. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios, File)
Credit Nicholas K. Geranios / Associated Press
Audio version of this story here.

Two weeks ago, little was know about Rachel Dolezal

She’s a part-time professor at Eastern Washington University, but now her bio and course description has been omitted.

Earlier it read, “Dolezal holds her Master’s degree from Howard University and is a professor in the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University.”

Now, Dolezal, the former president of the NAACP’s Spokane Washington chapter has resigned amidst the core of a firestorm.

In a statement, the embattled activist and professor said, “in the eye of this current storm, I can see that a separation of family and organizational outcomes is in the best interest of the NAACP.”

Here’s the back story.

For years, it appears Rachel Dolezal has identified as African-American and even checked off that designation on employment forms.

She’s been heavily involved in civil rights and social justice issues.

Last week, Dolezal’s parents revealed their daughter is not African-American and charged Rachel has been “passing” as an African-American.

Monday on national television, Dolezal’s parents said the only reason for speaking out now was simply because they had been asked because of an investigation.

Rachel Dolezal’s parents, Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal say they have not spoken with their daughter in years.

Joining “A Closer Look” to talk about the saga, race and racial identity was Emory professor of political science and author Michael Leo Owens and freelance journalist Kristi York Wooten, who’s writing focuses on music and popular culture and also writes about global affairs, Africa and activism.