Rachel Dolezal responded to the firestorm over her race in an exclusive interview on “Today” show Tuesday.
“I identify as black,” she told Matt Lauer. When prompted with a picture of her as a child, Dolezal said people would identify her as white by outward appearance.
The former NAACP chapter president said she’s been identifying as a black woman as early as five years old: “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and black curly hair.”
Dolezal took exception with Lauer suggesting she deceived people by identifying as black.
“I do take exception to that because it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of, are you black or white?” she said.
Responding to whether she’s done anything to alter her appearance to appear black, Dolezal said she certainly doesn’t “stay out of the sun.” She also said she doesn’t put on “blackface as a performance.”
“This is not some freak, birth-of-a-nation mockery performance,” she said.
The lightning rod will also sit down with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Tuesday in a cable news exclusive. The interview will air during “All In” with Chris Hayes at 8 p.m. ET.