After being the topic of heated debate for the better part of the week, Rachel Dolezal has finally admitted she has privilege — as a lighter-skinned black woman.
Tuesday afternoon, in an online interview with NBCBLK’s Amber Payne, Dolezal maintained that she is a black woman but acknowledged her complexion provides her with privilege not shared by most black Americans. However, she believes that advantage is similar to what any fair-skinned black person would experience.
“I am willing to acknowledge that there is privilege available to people with lighter skin,” Dolezal conceded. Then, she made a point to cite people of color like Michael Jackson and Sammy Sosa as examples — two men have who have both allegedly bleached their skin to appear more white. She even argues that racial transformations can go both ways.
When Payne quickly pointed out that Dolezal’s examples are considered fairly “extreme,” Spokane’s former NAACP president begrudgingly elaborated by saying there is a “window of privilege” that both light-skinned black people and white people have access to.
Even though it’s clear she has no intention of placing herself in the white segment of that spectrum, this is the closest she’s ever come to publicly associating herself to whiteness.
In another interview set to air on NBC Nightly News, she met with even more push back from Savannah Guthrie.
“It’s one thing to embrace the questions as an academic matter,” Guthrie told Dolezal. “It’s another thing to just actually be honest and transparent about who you are. And I think that’s where people are having trouble with you, Rachel. I think they feel that you have been, for whatever reason, and perhaps wonderful reasons, acting like you’re something that you are not.”
“Right. Well, I definitely am not white,” Dolezal said in response. “Nothing about being white describes who I am. So, you know, what’s the word for it? You know what I mean?”
Unfortunately, it seems many don’t know what she means, with public opinion being that her interviews have been evasive at best.
Perhaps the most endearing moment in her press junket today is when she addressed a lighthearted question about what’s going on with her hair.
Check out her response below.