Rachel Dolezal Isn't Positive Her White Parents Are Her Parents

As part of their continued dominance of exclusives in the “Rachel Dolezal says she is black” story, NBC aired a new interview with Dolezal during the NBC Nightly News on Tuesday evening. During it, Dolezal told Savannah Guthrie that she wasn’t sure she could say authoritatively that she is truly related to her parents, who are white.


Dolezal was first asked if she had ever straight-up lied to someone about her race. She replied, “No, because never have I been asked, ‘are you human or are you not human?’ Race as a construct has a fluid understanding. So I would say no.”

But after being asked if she thought telling people that she’s black is “misleading,” Dolezal said she could “understand” why people would feel that way.

I can understand that. But again, up to this point, I know who raised me, I haven’t had a DNA test, there’s been no biological proof that Larry and Ruthanne are my biological parents.

I’m not necessarily saying that I can prove they’re not, but I don’t know that I can actually prove they are. I mean the birth certificate was issued a month and a half after I’m born. Certainly there were no medical witnesses to my birth. It was in the woods.

Dolezal also reiterated her previously established point that she is not white.

I definitely am not white. Nothing about being white describes who I am. So, you know, what’s the word for it? The closest thing that I can come to is if you’re black or white, I’m black. I’m more black than white. On a level of values, lived experience currently. In this moment, that’s the answer. That’s the accurate answer from my truth. But I hope the dialogue continues to push against, ‘what is race? what is ethnicity?


As far as the nitty-gritty details of how she kept this charade up, Dolezal said that she has not changed her physical appearance, besides experimenting with her hair, and denied doing anything to her skin other than sitting in the sun and using bronzer sometimes: “I just wanted to feel beautiful. And this is how I feel beautiful.”

Guthrie also asked Dolezal whether she felt “a little bit under siege” due to all the media coverage over the past week. “Oh definitely,” she replied. “I am going to need to do a little regrouping and be able to really process all the implications now as I move forward.” With regards to whether she can be considered “transracial” the way people are considered transgender, she said that she had read Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair profile and related to “some of the isolation, of being misunderstood” expressed in it, especially now.


Lastly, NBC spoke to Dolezal’s son Frank. “No matter what she does, I’m gonna be proud of her,” he said. “She deserved to be world-widely known, but not like this.”

You can watch the full interview, some of which did not air on television, here.


Contact the author at dries@jezebel.com.



Reposting, because fuck this noise:

Here’s the only litmus test to being black: Would you have been a slave? Okay, then. Welcome.

We can talk about culture and community and “lived experiences” all day long, but in the end, that’s ALL it comes down to.

Would you have been a slave? You could have been from Mali, Nigeria, the Congo or South Africa, swept up in the tides of war and shipped overseas in bondage. Would you have been a slave? Okay, you’re black.

You could have been brought to the shores of Manhattan and lived your life as a second-class, but free citizen in this new world, but if taken down south, would you be enslaved? Okay.

You could hail from Haiti, Cuba, be mixed with Indians, speak Spanish mellifluously, but if dropped in the Alabama in the early 1800s, would you be a slave? Okay.

You could be 8 Rock mandingo, blue-black to pale white, mulatto, quadroon or octaroon, but let that 1 drop of blood be known...would you be a slave? Okay. From Grace Jones to Rashida Jones, would you have been a slave?

That’s why an East African can come here and “be black”. Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia...Dominican, Columbian..they can be black. Because they would have been enslaved. There is nothing ennobling about this. It is simply what binds the historical black experience. Not kinky hair, bronzed skin, not our patois cobbled together in the Babylon of jumbled tribes with English as the base language. It is the singular mark of servitude that determined our place in this country. That still determines our status, unless we are “lucky” enough to pass.

Would Rachel Dolezal have been a slave? No. No matter how unsatisfactory being white is to this woman. She would not have been a slave. She is not black.