Dolezal: 'When I Was A Kid, I Drew Myself With The Brown Crayon'

Photo: Colin Mulvany/AP Photo.
Rachel Dolezal, who stepped down yesterday from her role as president of the NAACP's Spokane chapter, finally broke her silence on the Today Show Tuesday morning.

"I identify as black," Dolezal said, while not denying that, as the child of two white parents, she'd be considered by most as white. "It's a little more complex."

In a sit-down with Matt Lauer, Dolezal said she's long identified with the black community, saying that even as a child, she "self-identified with the black experience. I was drawing self portraits with the black crayon instead of the peach crayon."

When Matt Lauer asked her one of the most controversial questions around the scandal, whether she darkens her own skin, Dolezal wasn't entirely clear. "I have a huge issue with blackface. I don't put on blackface as a performance," she said, leaving it open to interpretation whether that means she doesn't darken her skin at all, or that she feels she does it in a more authentic way.

"I certainly don't stay out of the sun... But, this isn't some freak, Birth of a Nation blackface performance," she said. "On a very real, connected level, I’ve had to go there." She also agreed with a quote Lauer read from a recent Washington Post story that states blackface is always racist.

Lauer also asked about her lawsuit against Howard University, the historically black college she attended, and which she sued in 2002 for discriminating against her for being white. Lauer asked if she hadn't, in that instance, re-adopted her white identity out of convenience. She disagreed, saying that when she became pregnant, she was denied her scholarship and TA job because people at the university assumed her white relatives could help her — and she maintains that was unjust. The lawsuit was unsuccessful.

"They support the way I identify," Dolezal said of her sons, Isaiah and Franklin, who were in the studio for the live taping. "Mom, racially you're human and culturally you're black," she said one of them told her.

Dolezal had been expected to speak at an NAACP meeting set for Monday, but cancelled it without rescheduling. Later that day, she used a Facebook post to resign her position. "Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It's about justice," she wrote.

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