By Mary Elizabeth Williams
It should already be abundantly clear that the still emerging story of Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal is not your typical tale of everyday cultural appropriation. Dolezal, who’s been chapter president since January of this year, is also a part-time professor in the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University and chairwoman of the city’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission. She’s come under intense scrutiny since Thursday, when her parents came forward to say that the 37 year-old had been deceptively posing as African American. But while her story is extraordinary, it’s not her behavior that’s going to be worth noting right now. It’s the amount of ridiculous, excusing commentary we’re going to be subjected to about it. So let me just say now, as a white woman who, like Dolezal rather conveniently says, can acknowledge “We’re all from the African continent” – that is some next-level white privilege BS there. Chet Haze, you have been wildly outdone.
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As the Seattle Times reports, Dolezal now says “I feel like I owe my executive committee a conversation” about what she says is a “multi-layered” issue. “That question is not as easy as it seems,” she says. “There’s a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.”
But in an interview that aired on KLXY Thursday, when asked directly, “Are you African American?” she replied, “I don’t understand the question,” and asserted that a Facebook photograph of an African American man “is my dad.” But when pressed, “Are your parents white?” she took off her microphone and walked away so quickly she left her purse and car keys behind.