Parents of NAACP leader: 'A lot of people knew she was white'

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Friday, June 12, 2015
Parents of NAACP leader speak out
Parents of Rachel Dolezal speak out amid questions about her racial identity.

The parents of Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane, Wash. NAACP leader who has been accused of falsely portraying herself as African-American, have spoken out on their daughter's ethnicity.

"A lot of people knew that Rachel was white and for a while," Ruthanne Dolezal, Rachel's mother, told CNN. "It seemed like she was doing more of a artistic, expressive representation of her identifying with African-Americans by doing their hair and extensions and things like that."

"But when it started to be claimed that she was African-American, then as family we didn't take the initiative to report her doing that," Ruthanne said. "But there were many other people from her hometown and from the area that knew that she was not African-American and no one of them spoke of either."

Rachel Dolezal speaking to ABC affiliate KXLY.
ABC News

Lawrence Dolezal, Rachel's father, also added "they were just puzzled." Ruthanne commented on when she thought her daughter started referring to herself as African-American.

"It started kind of gradually around 2007 or so, but we first heard about her claims to be African-American from a newspaper article from the Spokane, Washington area and that was the first we knew she was doing it," Ruthanne told CNN. "She has never claimed to be biracial or African-American in our presence."

"We're confirming the truth," Lawrence told CNN. "We are her birth parents and we don't understand why she feels it's necessary to misrepresent her ethnicity. We would tell her that we love her and care about her. Just be honest, tell the truth."

Dolezal misrepresented herself as African-American on her application for the city commision, identifying herself as white, black and American Indian, according to the Spokesman-Review. Officials told the newspaper that they're investigating into whether Dolezal violated any city policies.