By Michelle Seiler-Tucker, Special for USDR
Earlier this week parents of Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter president, Rachel Dolezal, revealed that their daughter, who had stated she was of white, black, and Native American descent on a government application, is actually Czech, Swedish, and German, with only a trace of Native American. In addition to serving as president of the Spokane NAACP chapter, Dolezal is a part time professor of Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University and serves on a civilian oversight board of the Spokane police department.
So what’s going on?
According to Rachel’s parents, Ruthanne and Larry, Rachel began adopting a black identity shortly after the family adopted four black children, around 2006.
Strange transformation was dramatic: Childhood photos show a freckled girl with fair skin and straight blonde hair, yet a Google Images search now shows a darker woman with hair ranging from tight brown curls to long black dreadlocks. Additionally, instead of viewing these four children as siblings of sorts, Rachel believes she is their mother.
Fraud or freedom?
The world seems to be divided on the issue. Is Rachel a brave “trans-black” woman setting herself free, the same way Caitlyn Jenner is transgender? Or, is Rachel Dolezal intentionally deceiving others for her own financial and personal gain? The case in favor of Rachel is suspicious. During an interview Friday, she dodged questions then abruptly walked away, leaving her purse and car keys behind. Furthermore, over the past years, Rachel reported eight instances of hate-crimes committed against her, including a swastika and noose on her door. Police investigations into the matter never turned up a suspect, yet in fact lead people to suspect she may have been behind it herself. A package containing racist material was left in her NAACP mailbox, though contained no official date stamp from the Post Office, indicating only someone with a key (Rachel) could have deposited the box. The story of Rachel Dolezal raises lots of questions about both her life and the greater climate of race in the US. I think this one will take a while to pan out.