Rachel Dolezal: ‘I’m DEFINITELY not white’ and not some ‘mockery blackface performance’

Rachel Dolezal today insisted that she is ‘definitely not white’ as she slammed suggestions that she is taking part in ‘some mockery blackface performance’.

The beleaguered civil rights activist appeared on the Today show just a day after she resigned as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP’s) Spokane chapter amid the controversy over her racial identity.

In the unapologetic live interview – her first since the start of the scandal – Dolezal said she would do nothing differently if her younger self knew what she knows now, claiming that her life has been about making choices for her ‘survival’.

When asked by Today host Matt Lauer if presenting herself as a black woman for years was akin to wearing blackface, she insisted that was not the case.

‘I have a huge issue with blackface,’ she said. ‘This is not some freak “Birth of a Nation” mockery blackface performance. This is on a very real, connected level. I’ve had to go there with the experience, not just a visible representation.’

In another interview with NBC Nightly News, which will air this evening, Dolezal said: ‘I definitely am not white’, according to a post by Savannah Guthrie.

Dolezal was also asked by Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC if she was black and she responded simply: ‘Yes.’

She said that she had always felt a ‘spiritual, visceral’ connection to ‘the black experience’.

‘From a very young age I felt a spiritual, visceral, instinctual connection with black is beautiful,’ she said. ‘Just the black experience and wanting to celebrate that…

‘I was socially conditioned to not own that and to be limited to whatever biological identity was thrust upon me and narrated to me, and so I kind of felt pretty awkward a lot of the time with that.’

On the Today show, she claimed that she first started seeing herself as black when she was five.

‘I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon rather than the peach crayon, and black curly hair,’ she said. ‘That was how I was portraying myself.’

But when Lauer held up a photo of Dolezal as a teen – with blonde hair and a fair complexion – she conceded that she looked like a white person and that she was not identifying as black at the time.

Her estranged parents, who outed her as white last week, have previously said that she began ‘disguising’ herself as black around 2007.

But in the interview, she would not answer questions about how she has changed her appearance to seem black. Her hair is worn in tight brown curls – a far cry from the blonde locks of her youth.

‘I certainly don’t stay out of the sun,’ she offered.

Dolezal added that her black identity was solidified more recently when she took in her adopted brother, Izaiah, and started bringing him up as her son. Izaiah, a high school student, is black.

‘He said, “you’re my real mom” and for that to be something that is plausible I certainly can’t be seen as white and be Izaiah’s mum,’ she posited.

Her sons were both with her in New York City for the interview. As well as Izaiah, she has a biological African-American son, Franklin, with her ex-husband.

‘I actually was talking to one of my sons yesterday and he said, “mom, racially you’re human and culturally you’re black”,’ she said. ‘I do know that they support the way I identify.’

She also answered other questions about her family, namely the claim that an African-American man is her father. On Facebook, she has identified Albert Wilkerson – a black man – as her dad, despite the fact that her biological father, Larry Dolezal, is white.

She told Lauer that she first met Wilkerson at an event in North Idaho and ‘we just connected on a very intimate level as family’.

‘Albert Wilkerson is my dad,’ she said. ‘Every man can be a father; not every man can be a dad.’

When asked if she would do anything differently knowing the uproar that her situation has caused, she said that she might have approached a few interviews differently. She admitted that she had failed to correct articles that identified her as ‘trans-racial’, ‘bi-racial’ or ‘black’ in the past.

‘But overall my life has been one of survival and the decisions that I have made along the way have been to survive,’ she claimed.

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