SPOKANE, Wash. — Controversy is swirling around one of the Spokane region’s most prominent civil rights activists, with family members saying the local leader of the NAACP has falsely portrayed 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 Thursday that questions have arisen about her background and her numerous complaints to police of harassment. The story was first reported by the Coeur d’Alene Press.
Dolezal’s mother, Ruthanne, says the family’s ancestry is Czech, Swedish and German, with a touch of Native American heritage.
Her mother and father told KXLY that they are both white, and Rachel is their biological daughter.
The station interviewed Dolezal regarding her a photo posted to the NAACP Spokane Facebook page in which she apparently identifies an African-American man as her father:
“Ma’am, I was wondering if your dad really is an African-American man,” the reporter asked.
“I don’t understand the question,” Dolezal answered. “I did tell you [that man in the picture] is my dad.”
“Are your parents white?” he asked.
Dolezal then took off the microphone and left the interview.
She has identified herself in application materials as white, black and Native American.
Police say they have found little evidence of Dolezal’s alleged racial harassment. In fact, postal investigators say the mail was never processed by the U.S. Post Office, according to KXLY.