Tags: dolezal | naacp | leader | spokane

NAACP Leader Accused of Posing as Black to Speak on Monday

By    |   Saturday, 13 June 2015 11:38 AM

Embattled Spokane, Washington, NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal announced Saturday that she will speak on Monday about the furor over racial identity sparked after her parents said she has falsely portrayed herself as black for years.

KHQ-TV in Spokane reported that Dolezal sent a message to NAACP members saying she would address the situation at a Monday night meeting of the group.

"As you probably know by now, there are questions and assumptions swirling in national and global news about my family, my race, my credibility, and the NAACP," Dolezal's message said. "I have discussed the situation, including personal matters, with the Executive Committee. I support their decision to wait until Monday to make a statement. The Executive team asked that I also release my response statement at the same time, which will be during the 7-9 p.m. monthly membership meeting."

The NAACP, which on Friday called the claims made by Dolezal's parents part of a "legal issue with her family," said that racial identity is not a qualifying or disqualifying matter when it comes to NAACP leadership, reports the Los Angeles Times.

But still, Dolezal and her parents in Montana have not explained why she made the claims or why her parents waited to reveal themselves and their claims.

Dolezal, 37, responded "yes, that's my dad," when a TV reporter from KXLY in Spokane showed her a photo of an elderly man she'd posted on Facebook and identified as her father. But she became tense when asked if her father had come to Spokane in January, as her Facebook post had said, telling the reporter the man had lung cancer.

And then, when the reporter asked her if she was an African-American, Dolezal told her that she didn't "understand the question" and walked away.

Her parents, Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal told CNN Friday that their daughter has been claiming to be black for years, but they were never asked about her until recently. The couple have four adopted children, three of whom are African-American and one from Haiti, in addition to Dolezal, who is their biological daughter.

They also shared a photo of her, taken while she was younger and showing her with blonde hair, and a birth certificate that lists them as her Dolezal's parents.

Her mother told CNN that Dolezal cut ties with them several years ago, as "she doesn't want to be seen with us because that ruins her image."

According to court documents that CNN obtained, the legal issues in the family concern litigation over the guardianship of one of Dolezal's adopted brothers. The paperwork shows the brother, who is now 21, sought emancipation from the Dolezals in 2010, claiming they used "physical forms of punishment" and sent his brother and sister away to group homes when they would not cooperate with their parents' religion or their house rules.

The young man said he wanted to live with his sister "in a multiracial household where black culture is celebrated and I have a connection to the black community."

The emancipation petition was eventually dropped, CNN reports, and in a separate legal action in 2010, the court appointed Dolezal as her adopted brother's guardian, with the consent of her parents.

Meanwhile, the questions are leading officials in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where Dolezal lives, to decide if there are any actions they should take against her, the LA Times reports.

Dolezal has told police and KXLY that she and her family have received several death threats over the years, and now denies she made up the incidents.

Spokane officials are also looking into whether Dolezal lied while applying to serve on the police department's ombudsman commission, reports the Times. She identified herself as white, black and American Indian on the application. She now is chairwoman of the independent commission. In addition to her NAACP position, she also is an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Washington University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The NAACP is standing by Rachel Dolezal, its embattled leader in Spokane, Washington, after her parents said she is lying about being African-American, but questions remain about why she made her claims or what will happen to her.
dolezal, naacp, leader, spokane
Saturday, 13 June 2015 11:38 AM
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