Rachel Dolezal Says She’s Not African-American, But Still Insists She’s Black: ‘It’s Not a Costume’

“I would like to write a book … as opposed to having to continue explaining,” she tells Vanity Fair

Last Updated: July 20, 2015 @ 9:52 AM

Rachel Dolezal is not backtracking from her claims of being black, and she is also tired of being labeled a liar.

“I just feel like I didn’t mislead anybody; I didn’t deceive anybody,” she said in a recent interview. “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, because I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m black, and there’s a difference in those terms.”

The embattled former Spokane, Washington, NAACP chapter president told Vanity Fair that she’s lost friends and jobs and money over her controversial contention that she’s a black woman, despite so clearly being Caucasian.

“It’s not a costume,” she said. “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. Like I said, I’ve had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I’m not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be — but I’m not.”

As for her main old job, Dolezal says she’s been getting a mixed response from former colleagues.

“It’s been really interesting because a lot of people have been supportive within the NAACP, but then there’s also some awkwardness because I went from being president to not-president,” she said. “I’m kind of just keeping a little bit of distance so that Naima 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.”

Dolezal told Vanity Fair that her last paycheck — $1,800 or so — came on June 1. With a 13-year-old son, she has to figure out something fast. You listening, literary world?

“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 says. “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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