In an interview with Vanity Fair, embattled Rachel Dolezal, born to white parents, still insists that she is black and that she did nothing to deceive people.
Dolezal ignited a nationwide discussion about racial identity last month when her estranged parents accused their daughter of passing herself off as African-American.
At the time Dolezal was head of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP, a job she resigned from after the controversy broke.
In the Vanity Fair interview, Dolezal says that being black is not a “costume.”
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“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,” she said.
“It’s not something that I can put on and take off anymore. Like I said, 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.”
As she has all along, Dolezal maintains that she didn’t do anything deceptive or misleading and “would like to write a book just so that I can send (it to) everybody there as opposed to having to continue explaining.”
“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,” she said.
Dolezal lost her job at Eastern Washington University, where she taught about the politics and history of black hair. Now she’s eking out a living for herself and her 13-year-old son by braiding and weaving hair in her home.
“I’ve got to figure it out before August 1, because my last paycheck was like $1,800 in June,” she said. “(I lost) friends and the jobs and the work and — oh, my God — so much at the same time.”