Rachel Dolezal says she identifies as black in first interview

For years, she has described herself as black and has claimed she had been the victim of racial hate in a predominantly white area.  Last week, her biological parents said she is white with a bit of Native American heritage, supporting their claims by releasing photos from her late teens and early 20s of a fair-skinned girl with straight blond hair.

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When questioned by Matt Lauer about the difference of appearance, Dolezal said "I certainly don't stay out of the sun. I also don't put on black face as a performance," The Associated Press reported.

She added, "This is a very real, connected level. I've had to actually go there with the experience, not just the visible representation, but with the experience."

Dolezal resigned Monday from her position as president of the Spokane, Washington branch of the NAACP, lost her position as a part-time African studies instructor at a Washington university, lost her job as a freelance newspaper columnist and is at the center of a probe by the Spokane Ethics Commission, AP reported.

Watch the "Today" show interview:

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