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Rachel Dolezal faces media storm and insists "I identify as black"

She has also said the she ‘never had a DNA test’.

Source: TODAY/YouTube

THE US LOCAL civil rights leader forced to leave an African-American advocacy group after her white parents went public says she ‘never had a DNA test’.

Rachel Dolezal has been doing interviews after becoming the focus of a media storm in the US that has sparked a debate about race and ethnicity.

Yesterday, she spoke to a number of NBC shows about her identity and answered allegations that she has lied about who she is.

Speaking to the Today Show, Dolezal said recent revelations caught her off guard but that she knew that at some point she would have to “address the complexity of my identity”.

“I identify as black,” she told interview Matt Lauer.

rd 2 Rachel Dolezal pictured in her mid-teens. Source: NBC/TodayShow

Dolezal was president of a Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and had in the past claimed racial discrimination.

But after her parents, with whom she is now estranged, came out publicly saying she is white, she has been forced into the media spotlight.

She has faced numerous allegations that she either lied or refused to correct assumptions about her throughout her career.

Lauer asked Dolezal whether she has ‘deceived people’.

He put it to her that in her dealings with people she, “would’t say you identify as black, you’d say ‘I’m black’.”

“I do take exception because it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of whether I’m black or white,” she responded.

The discussion is about what it means to be human and I hope that I can really drive at the core of definitions about race, ethnicity, culture, self-determination, personal agency and ultimately empowerment.

She denied that she has done anything to physically alter her skin colour, apart from sometimes wearing bronzer. Allegations from critics that she is en effect putting on a ‘blackface performance’ are completely untrue she say.

DNA

Later yesterday, the 37-year-old appeared to cast doubt over her parentage saying that she ‘has never had a DNA test’.

“I know who raised me, there hasn’t been any DNA test. There hasn’t been any proof that Larry and Ruthannne are my biological parents,” she told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie who then pointed to Dolezal’s birth cert.

“I’m not necessarily saying that I can prove they’re not,” Dolezal responded. “But I don’t know that I can actually prove they actually are. I mean, the birth certificate is issued a month and a half after I’m born. And certainly there were no medical witnesses to my birth.”

Again, she was asked about who she felt she was:

I definitely am not white. Nothing about being white describes who I am, so what’s the word for it? The closest thing that I can come to is, ‘if you’re black or white’, I’m black. I certainly feel more black than white.

PastedImage-87073 Source: NBC/TodayShow

Dolezan’s sons Franklin and Isaiah were present for the interviews with Franklin saying that he feels “the maximum pride for her”. He praised here as both a mother and civil rights representative.

Read: The black rights leader outed for not being black has quit her job >

Read: Black rights leader outed as being…not black >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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