- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2015

The NAACP announced Friday that it “stands behind” one of Spokane, Washington’s most prominent civil rights activists, after family members came forward to accuse her of falsely portraying herself as black for years.

Rachel Dolezal is president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, chair of the city’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission and an adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University, The Spokesman Review reported.

Her parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, who are both white, said Thursday that they want people to know that their daughter is, too. Ruthanne said the family’s ancestry is Czech, Swedish and German, with a touch of Native American heritage.

Ms. Dolezal has identified herself in application materials as white, black and Native American. Her parents said they started noticing a change in their daughter’s appearance after she divorced a black man in 2004. She also started claiming to have biracial parents.

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 told a local NBC affiliate.

When asked directly about her race, Ms. Dolezal told The Spokesman Review: “That question is not as easy as it seems.”

“We’re all from the African continent,” she added later.

On Friday, the NAACP responded to the controversy:

“For 106 years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has held a long and proud tradition of receiving support from people of all faiths, races, colors and creeds. NAACP Spokane Washington Branch President Rachel Dolezal is enduring a legal issue with her family, and we respect her privacy in this matter. One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership. The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record. In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational, and economic justice for all people, and we encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization.”

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