The parents of a civil rights activist in Washington State told local news outlets in a series of interviews published on Thursday that she has been pretending to be black for years even though she is white.
Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Washington State, has said numerous times that she is of African American descent, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press newspaper in Idaho.
But her parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, who live in Troy, Montana and both describe themselves as white, showed the newspaper their daughter’s birth certificate indicating they were her parents. And they provided an image of Rachel when she was younger, with blonde hair and blue eyes.
They told Spokane television station KREM that Rachel (pictured above) is specifically of Czech and German heritage.
Along with accusations about her race have also come questions about whether she was the victim of hate crimes on multiple locations.
Dolezal reported that on two separate occasions in 2009 and 2010 that nooses were found in her Idaho home, according to KREM. Police said that in 2010, Randy Bell, who rented a home to Dolezal, told police that he had hung a rope in the home to hang a deer about a year prior to Dolezal’s complaint, according to The Press.
“He told me that he was 90 percent sure it was rope he hung there approximately (one year before the report),” an officer wrote in a police report obtained by The Press. “He said he hung a deer up there and he believes the rope is from that time.”
Dolezal denied to The Press that the rope was in the home when she moved in.
“Our daughter is Caucasian” say parents of Spokane NAACP President Rachel Dolezal. pic.twitter.com/6VHxm9v4Wt
— Taylor Viydo (@KREMTaylor) June 11, 2015
“Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” Ruthanne Dolezal told KREM.
Dolezal, who also serves as the chair of Spokane’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, said on her application for that position that she was white, African American, Native American, and two or more races, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press, which obtained a copy of the application.
And in February, she told The Easterner, the student newspaper at Eastern Washington University, that the man who raised her was her stepfather, according to The Press.
A post on the Spokane NAACP’s Facebook page in January included a picture of Rachel with a black man, said that her father would be visiting the chapter. She posted a similar picture on her personal Facebook page saying the man was her father.
President Dolezal’s dad will be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony & will speak at the 7pm MLK tribute membership meeting pic.twitter.com/u5kvlCNWwY
— Spokane NAACP (@SpokaneNAACP) January 14, 2015
But Ruthanne Dolezal told the The Press that she had never met the man in the photo, identified by the newspaper as Albert Wilkerson, and that Larry Dolezal is Rachel’s father.
“Anybody who lives in the town of Troy or Libby knows that Larry is her father,” Ruthanne told The Press.
Rachel Dolezal has not directly addressed her parents’ accusations, but she has defended herself to numerous news outlets.
“I can understand that. And like I said, it’s more important to me to clarify that to the black community, and with my executive board, than it really is for me to explain it to a community that I quite frankly don’t think understands the definitions of race and ethnicity,” she told KREM when asked about claims that she misrepresented her race.
When confronted by a reporter from Spokane television station KXLY, Dolezal would not say whether she or her father were black.
“I don’t understand the question. I did tell you that, yes, that’s my dad, and he wasn’t able to come in January,” she said, but walked away when asked if her parents are white.
Her parents also told the The Press newspaper that their daughter has been trying to pass off her younger brother, who was adopted by them and is black, as her own son. Ruthanne Dolezal told the paper she and her husband adopted the child, Izaiah, and three other black children between 1993 and 1995.
Rachel told The Press that Izaiah is one of her adopted brothers.
“He used to be my brother,” she said. “But I have full custody of him now.”
Rachel’s father, Larry, told BuzzFeed News that he and his wife have not been in contact with Rachel because she “doesn’t want us visible in the Spokane area in her circle because we’re Caucasian.”