The mother of Rachel Dolezal — an NAACP leader in Spokane, Washington, who identifies as African-American, though her parents claim she is white — said Friday that her daughter “has not explained to us why she is doing what she’s doing and being dishonest and deceptive with her identity.”
Ruthanne Dolezal said her daughter Rachel gradually began referring to herself as black around 2007 and that “she has never claimed to be biracial or African-American in our presence.”
The parents last talked to their daughter “some years ago,” with Ruthanne Dolezal saying “Rachel has not wanted to have contact with us.”
The NAACP issued a statement Friday on Rachel Dolezal’s “enduring a legal issue with her family,” saying, “We respect her privacy in this matter.”
“One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership,” the group said. “The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record.”
The racial identity of one of the most prominent faces in Spokane, Washington’s black community is under question after her parents produced a birth certificate that showed she is white.
Rachel Dolezal, 37, is the head of the local chapter of the NAACP and has identified herself as African-American. But her Montana birth certificate says she was born to two Caucasian parents, according to CNN affiliate KXLY, which also showed an old family photo in its report.
CNN tried to reach Dolezal for comment by emailing and calling her late Thursday night, but was unsuccessful.
Identifies as African-American
Dolezal has represented herself as at least part African-American in an application for the police ombudsman commission.
And she has presented the public with a different family photograph posted to the local NAACP chapter’s Facebook page. When she announced her father was coming to town for a visit, she showed herself standing next to an older African-American man.
Dolezal’s public racial identity came under scrutiny on Thursday, when a reporter from KXLY held up that photo asked her a simple question.
This is how the conversation went:
“Is that your dad?”
“Yeah, that’s…that’s my dad.”
“This man right here’s your father? Right there?”
“You have a question about that?”
“Yes ma’am, I was wondering if your dad really is an African-American man.”
“That’s a very — I mean, I don’t know what you’re implying.”
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