The former leader of Spokane's NAACP is promoting her book, and took questions from The New York Times' readers on Facebook.
Rachel Dolezal, the former Spokane NAACP leader who made international headlines and sparked ferocious debates about race after she was outed as a white woman passing as black, did a live interview Tuesday on The New York Times’ Facebook page.
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Despite the sometimes negative and accusatory questions, Dolezal — who has written a book called “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World” — was calm and steadfast in her assertion about her identity.
“Nothing about whiteness describes me,” she said during the half-hour interview.
As she answered questions posed by viewers, her message remained focused and unapologetic.
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Race, as understood in Western cultures, is a largely social construct, she said. Yet from the time she was a child, she felt more aligned with black people.
She said people should be embraced for “who they are authentically, and ultimately the quest for self-definition and self-determination is really part of the pursuit of happiness and freedom for us all.”
Nevertheless, the reaction from readers in the newspaper’s online-comments section was fierce and unforgiving.
Among the top-rated comments were these:
“There are literally thousands of people who are doing good work and could use this platform and NYTimes decides to interview Dolezal? come on,” which garnered more than 1,800 likes.
“If black men start identifying as white then they will stop getting shot by police right? No, so transracial is something only white people can do…” with 1,502 likes.
“The New York Times how about you give this powerful platform to an educated black woman who has something positive and powerful to say instead of this nonsense?” wrote another reader.
“While it’s true that some black people have “passed” as white, when they are found out,they don’t receive a book deal and a platform on NYT. This is white privilege.”
Dolezal has adopted an African name legally but she continues to use Dolezal for her public persona.