A media firestorm erupted late last week when Montana residents Lawrence
and Ruthanne Dolezal, the parents of the president of the Spokane, Washington's
NAACP chapter revealed that their daughter has been pretending to be black.
The Washington Post reports Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal confirmed their daughter, Rachel Dolezal, the 37-year-old Africana Studies
professor at Eastern Washington University and Spokane NAACP president, is white.
Rachel's parents shared childhood photos of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Rachel along with her birth certificate, confirming that
Rachel is indeed the daughter of two white parents.
"It's very sad that Rachel has not just been
herself," Ruthanne Dolezal said. "Her effectiveness in the causes of the
African-American community would have been so much more viable, and she would
have been more effective if she had just been honest with everybody."
The public reaction was widespread and immediate
inciting a debate over ones ability to choose a racial identity. As a
result of the public discourse Rachel Dolezal resigned from her position as the
Spokane NAACP president this morning via a Facebook post on the chapter's
official page. "It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the Presidency and pass the baton to my Vice President, Naima Quarles-Burnley," Dolezal wrote.
Rachel has yet to respond to the claims of her
parents directly; it appears that she is estranged from them and her younger
siblings. The elder Dolezals have not been shy about speaking out, however, appearing
this morning on Good Morning America to share more insight into the
"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," Lawrence Dolezal said.
"Rachel is trying to reject her own reality, her own identity, and by
doing that she does not alter reality," Ruthanne said.