A simple question brought down the president of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. The question was one that you would not think needed to be asked. But when asked, "Are you African-American," Rachel Dolezal first said she did not understand the question, then walked away when she was directly questioned if she was white.
Watch the interview here:
But now, a month after her story broke, Dolezal sat down with Vanity Fair and gave her side of the story, and tells where her life is now.
1. Dolezal still identifies as black. "It's not a costume," Dolezal told reporter Allison Samuels in the magazine's exclusive interview. "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 told the magazine that she recently received a traffic ticket. The police officer marked race as black without asking Dolezal.
2. Her last paycheck was in June. She resigned from her position as the chapter's president. Dolezal also was removed from her other paid and unpaid jobs with a police oversight commission and Eastern Washington University. The last check was for $1,800. She told Samuels that she has to "figure it out before Aug. 1." She is currently styling hair to earn income, using her education on the history of black hair. She's styling hair by doing braids and weaves three times a week.
3. Dolezal claims the uproar had to do with the timing of the story and not being able to explain her side. She told Vanity Fair, she thinks she would have been forgiven if she had been able to explain her "complicated childhood," as the magazine put it. She would have also explained her long-time love for black culture before the story went viral.
4. She said she was still in contact with some NAACP members. Dolezal said most of the contact has been with older members of the black community and that they check on her. "I'm kind of just keeping a little bit of a distance so that Naima [Quarles-Burnley, the new chapter president] can get in her flow of leadership. It's actually hard because I think there's a little coldness from her, which is hard to deal with for me, to feel like she doesn't trust me as much now or something. I don't know."
5. Dolezal said she would like to write a book, but not for the reason you may think. "I would like to write a book just so that I can send [it to] everybody there as opposed to having to continue explaining." She continued, "After that comes out, then I'll feel a little bit more free to reveal my life in the racial social justice movement. I'm looking for the quickest way back to that, but I don't feel like I am probably going to be able to re-enter that work with the type of leadership required to make change if I don't have something like a published explanation."
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