Rachel Dolezal is back in the news again. Recently, the former Spokane NAACP leader, who stepped down after coming under fire for allegedly lying about her race, opened up to Vanity Fair about her life since the scandal.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from her interview:
1. Dolezal still identifies as a black woman despite everything that’s happened.
“It’s not a costume,” said Dolezal. “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. It’s not something that I can put on and take off anymore.”
Dolezal also makes the clear distinction that she isn’t African-American, but she is “black and there’s a difference in those terms.” Dolezal originally told “TODAY” host Matt Lauer that she identified as black back in June.
2. After resigning as the Spokane NAACP chapter president in the national firestorm that followed her comments, Dolezal now brings in income by braiding hair.
When her estranged parents came out and said that their daughter was “Caucasian by birth,” things went downhill for Dolezal quickly.
During the fallout, Dolezal was relieved from her paid and unpaid positions in Spokane, resigned from her position with the NAACP and her contract was not renewed at Eastern Washington University, where she lectured on politics part time.
According to the Vanity Fair profile, Dolezal says that she takes appointments for braids and weaves at her house “about three times a week” to support her and her 13-year-old son Franklin. She started to develop a passion for the “history of black hair” and styling hair while she was in college in Mississippi.
3. Dolezal feels that she “didn’t mislead anybody.”
“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,” said Dolezal. She also believes that her outing was a “big misunderstanding” and wishes she had time to explain her case to everyone.
“I wish I could have had conversations with all kinds of people,” she says. “If I would have known this was going to happen, I could have said, ‘O.K., so this is the case. This is who I am, and I’m black and this is why.’”
4. She is planning on writing a book.
Dolezal believes that a book will help her so she doesn’t have to keep explaining her story and she can get back to the work that’s most important to her.
“After that comes out, then I’ll feel a little bit more free to reveal my life in the racial social-justice movement,” said Dolezal. “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.”