Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP, may not have been born black, but according to family and former students, she fully committed to acting like she was.
On the heels of the controversy surrounding her ethnic background, a video from February has been uncovered of the Eastern Washington University professor giving a lecture on the history of black hair, nappiness, and her own experiences.
The most ironic moment of the clip is when she touches on the “brown paper bag test” and explains how many fair-skinned African Americans passed for white to get better job positions and societal standing.
In addition to this video, a former student of Dolezal now alleges she once wasn’t allowed to participate in a class activity about race and culture because she appeared too white to be seen as Hispanic.
“Rachel said I didn’t look Hispanic. [She] doubted that I could share experiences of racial or ethnic discrimination because I didn’t have the appearance of looking Hispanic.”
Dolezal instead selected another Hispanic-identified student to participate in the exercise.
“I didn’t think much of it at the time,” the student said, “but now I wish I had said something, especially now that her race is the one people are questioning.”
As Dolezal continues to distance herself from her family, her brother, Ezra Dolezal, has also come forward to give some backstory on his sister’s behavior.
According to Ezra, Rachel was preparing to start an entirely new life in Washington and asked him and her other adopted brother to say that they were “blood brothers.”
“She just told me, ‘Over here, I’m going to be considered black, and I have a black father. Don’t blow my cover,’” Ezra Dolezal, 22, told BuzzFeed News in an interview.
“She wanted to make a new life for herself but she took it to the ultimate extreme,” Ezra said. “Not only did she move out to Spokane, but she created a whole new identity for herself.”
He said that she gradually began to change her appearance but that her decision to identify as black was sudden and stemmed from her experience at a mostly-black college.
“She used to tell us that teachers treated her differently than other people and a lot of them acted like they didn’t want her there,” Ezra said. “Because of her work in African-American art, they thought she was a black student during her application, but they ended up with a white person.”
She began to be “hateful to white people” and even “brainwashed” her younger brother into thinking their parents were racist until she gained custody of Izaiah, now 21, and began to call him her natural-born son.
“It’s like what psychologists call self-hating,” Ezra said. “She had no reason not to like herself being white. She was an awesome artist and she could have accomplished everything she did, if she had stayed exactly the same.”
He further denied his sister’s claims that they were abused by their parents. “She was treated really well as a child,” he said, adding, “I think I would know if I was abused growing up, and I definitely wasn’t.”
When asked what he thought about the whole affair, he said, “She puts dark makeup on her face and says she black. It’s basically blackface.”