Rachel Dolezal, the former Spokane NAACP president recently outed as white by her parents, said in a new interview that she still considers herself black.
"It’s not a costume," she told Vanity Fair
. "I don’t know spiritually and metaphysically how this goes, but I do know that from my earliest memories I have awareness and connection with the black experience, and that’s never left me. It’s not something that I can put on and take off anymore."
Dolezal, 37, who is estranged from her parents
and some adopted siblings who are black, spoke about her life after the revelation. She said she lost some friends over the incident, and resigned her position as a chapter president of the NAACP.
"I've got to figure it out before August 1, because my last paycheck was like $1,800 in June," she said, explaining that she also lost her part-time teaching job at Eastern Washington University as an African-American studies professor.
"[I lost] friends and the jobs and the work and – oh, my God – so much at the same time."
Dolezal maintains that she didn't deceive anyone, and took a nuanced approach to describing her identity.
"I don't know. I just feel like I didn’t mislead anybody; I didn’t deceive anybody," she said. "If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that's more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn't say I'm African-American, but I would say I'm black, and there's a difference in those terms."
Dolezal said that moving forward she'd like to write a book about her experiences, and will continue to style hair.
"I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I'm not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be – but I'm not," she explained.
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