Rachel Dolezal sat down with Today’s Matt Lauer and opened up about recent allegations that she lied about being Black. Here are five new things we learned about the former NAACP chapter president whose name has been trending world wide for the past several days.
1. Rachel began identifying herself as Black at age 5: “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and black curly hair.”
2. Rachel was surprised that her cover was blown. “The timing of it was a shock,” she said. “The timing was completely unexpected. I did feel that at some point I would need to address the complexity of my identity.”
3. Rachel was first identified by others by transracial: When Matt asked when did she start telling people she was Black, she responded, “I do take exception to that because it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of, are you black or white? I was actually identified when I was doing human rights work in North Idaho as first transracial and then when some of the opposition to some of the human rights work I was doing came forward, the next newspaper article identified me as a biracial woman. Then the next article when there were burglaries, they said this was happening to a Black woman. I didn’t correct them.”
4. Rachel does not put on blackface : “I certainly don’t stay out of the sun,” she said when asked if she’s done anything to make her complexion darker. “I also don’t put on blackface as a performance … I have a huge issue with blackface. This is not some freak ‘Birth of a Nation’ mockery blackface performance,” she said. “This is on a very real, connected level. How I’ve had to go there with the experience, not just a visible representation, but with the experience.”
5. Rachel says calling her Black friend, Albert Wilkerson, her father, was not done to “enhance her resume” as an African American woman. “We connected on an intimate level as family,” she said. “Albert Wilkerson is my dad. Any man can be a father. Not every man can be a dad.”
Click to see the entire interview: