Taking cultural appropriation to a whole new level, the internet exploded last week after it was discovered that Rachel Dolezale had been fighting as an activist while pretending to be an African American woman; using tanners and hairstyles like braids to complete the look. According to her parents however, she is White.
During an appearance on Good Morning America her father Lawrence Dolezal admitted, “When we’re asked questions, we raised our children, tell the truth, that’s always the best and so when we’re asked or confronted with this matter, we’ll tell the truth.”
As details began to unfold the story has become even more bizarre. After attending Howard University on a scholarship she later married a Black man and became the NAACP president in Spokane, Washington. Meanwhile the children that she has publicly presented as her own, have in fact turned out to be the adopted siblings that she has custody of.
Two of her adopted brothers have spoken out regarding the controversy including Ezra Dolezal who explained to ABC News “She took me aside and told me not to blow her cover” and Zachariah who added, “It started out with the hair and then she’d have probably a little darker tan and it was very progressive.”
The situation has left many divided over whether her intent and civil rights work done trumps that the lies that she told while doing it. After cancelling a press conference Dolezale used her Facebook account to address the situation, revealing that she is resigning from her role as President. She explained, “I have waited in deference while others expressed their feelings, beliefs, confusions and even conclusions …absent the full story. I am consistently committed to empowering marginalized voices and believe that many individuals have been heard in the last hours and days that would not otherwise have had a platform to weigh in on this important discussion.
She added, “Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It’s about justice. This is not me quitting; this is a continuum.”
As the story continues to develop, current Spokane Vice President Naima Quarles-Burnley will be stepping into the role.