Rachel Dolezal: ‘I Don’t Identify as African American, I Identify as Black.’


Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP branch president who made headlines for posing as black, has been doing the media rounds promoting her new memoir, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World.”  On Monday, as part of her book tour, Dolezal appeared on NBC’s The Today Show. When Savannah Guthrie asked about the racial politics of what she did, she made the distinction that she considers herself “black,” not “African American.”

“I don’t identify as African American, I identify as black,” said Dolezal. “I am part of the Pan-African diaspora and I definitely feel like in America, even though race is a social construct and we’ve acknowledged this in academia and in science there still is a line drawn in the sides.”

When discussing her difficulty in finding a new job, something she first revealed publicly last month, Dolezal also noted that she has had her name changed legally. “I really felt like I needed to change my legal name in order to be seen for my qualifications and experience rather than just seen for the tabloid publicity that I got in 2015,” she explained. “When applying for a job, people were just seeing ‘Rachel Dolezal’ and not paying attention to the wide ranging experience and qualifications that I do have.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday, The New York Times posted a piece quizzing various employees about what racial terms make them cringe. At the bottom of the article, there is a plug for a Facebook Live question and answer session that the paper has scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, which will feature Rachel Dolezal:

Rachel Dolezal will answer readers’ questions on Facebook at 12:15 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. Ms. Dolezal was the president of the N.A.A.C.P. chapter in Spokane, Wash. and a university instructor in African-American studies before she attracted national attention in June 2015 for her embrace of a racial identity she was not born or raised in. Send your questions for her to racerelated@nytimes.com.

That should be interesting, to say the least.

[image via screengrab]

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