Rachel Dolezal publicly admitted Monday that she was born white — an admission that took the former Spokane NAACP president five months to make — during an appearance on the daytime talk show "The Real."
However, she said, she still identifies as black.
Dolezal found herself in a firestorm of controversy earlier this year after she was accused of lying about being African American in an incident that cost her the NAACP leadership position and her teaching position at Eastern Washington University, according to People magazine.
"I acknowledge that I was biologically born white to white parents, but I identify as black," Dolezal told a panel of celebrities Monday on "The Real," adding that she has seen herself as "being black" ever since she was young.
Entertainment Weekly wrote that Dolezal, who had insisted
to some that she was African American until she was outed by her parents over the summer, got an earful from "The Real's" co-hosts Loni Love and Tamar Braxton.
"[Love and Braxton] pushed Dolezal, reminding her that she is still afforded opportunities that are off limits to most black people, and her attendance at Howard University took a spot away from a black woman," Entertainment Weekly's Christian Holub wrote.
Dolezal responded by saying that being black was more philosophical than biological for her.
"Sometimes how we feel is more powerful than how we're born," she said. "Blackness can be defined as philosophical, cultural, biological, you know, it's a lot of different things to a lot of different people."
Love lectured Dolezal on being African American, telling the former Africana studies professor that she has the ability to "change" her race whenever she wants to.
"Let me tell you something: I'm black," Love said. "I can't be you. I can't reverse myself. Let's check you, Rachel. If the police stopped me, you could throw that off and show that nice fine hair up under, and you might get away. I may not. I may not even make in the jail."
In a Vanity Fair interview in July, Dolezal defended
her self-identification as black, insisting that the culture was not interchangeable for her.
"It's not a costume," she told the magazine. "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."
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