Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rachel Dolezal says she identifies as black: I don't put on blackface as a performance

Rachel Dolezal, former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington, told Matt Lauer on Tuesday morning that she identifies as being black and her ”self-identification with the black experience” began as a young child.

“I identify as black.

“I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, black curly hair … that was how I was portraying myself. It was a little more complex than me identifying as black.”

“As much as this discussion has somewhat been at my expense recently in a very sort of viciously inhumane way … the discussion’s really about what it is to be human. And I hope that really can drive at the core of definitions of race, ethnicity, culture, self-determination, personal agency and ultimately empowerment,” Dolezal said.

Lauer also questioned Dolezal about whether she has intentionally made her skin appear darker

Lauer: You’ve changed your appearance. your complexion appears darker than it did in the photos of you as a young lady. Have you done something to darken your complexion?

Dolezal: I certainly don’t stay out of the sun, you know. And I also don’t, as some of the critics have said, put on blackface as a performance.

Lauer: Let me address that, because some people have said the way you have changed your opinion is akin to putting on blackface. Jonathan Capehart wrote in The Washington Post, “blackface remains highly racist no matter how down with the cause a white person is.” Do you understand what he means by that?

Dolezal: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Lauer: Do you agree with it?

Dolezal: I have a huge issue with blackface. This is not some freak ‘Birth of a Nation’ mockery blackface performance. This is on a very real connected level how I have actually had to go there with the experience.

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