The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. They are used to controversy and fighting hard battles to make things right.

But the latest issue at their door is surely not one they ever expected. Their current president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP, is under fire for apparently misrepresenting her race while heading a branch of the United States’ oldest civil rights organization. She has identified herself as black but has recently been outted by her parent’s as actually being caucasian. Many are wondering if “transracial’ can actually be a thing.

Her parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, are both white and live in the Troy area of Montana and have come forward to say that she is actually of European descent and has been misrepresenting herself for the last few years as biracial.

Rachel Dolezal even had a friend pose as her black father as part of her ruse during a benefit dinner. In a 2012 profile in local magazine Spokeane CDA, she claimed “African-American, Native American, German, Czech, Swedish, Jewish and Arabic” ancestry. In the same interview, she stated “Coming from a trans-racial family that has hop-scotched to a variety of racial-tension areas, I have seen racial hatred in many forms.” The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is standing behind her and have released a statement on the issue.

While much of the controversy focuses on comparison photos of a smiling freckled, blond haired girl next to a current picture of Dolezal with much darker skin and hair which clearly makes her appear biracial, her accomplishments still speak for themselves. Many feel she has been wearing “black face” or feel wronged by someone in her position who clearly doesn’t know what it’s like to be black.

When Rachel was a teenager, her parents adopted four young children, two of them were black. Her parents say they always had friends of different ethnicities so she grew up in a racial diverse world. While it’s unclear when Dolezal’s deception began, her father said that after receiving a full scholarship to the historically black Howard University to pursue a master’s degree, she “transferred her identity.” “You’ve got a white woman coming in that got a full-ride scholarship to the black Harvard,” Larry said. “And ever since then, she’s been involved in social justice advocacy for African-Americans.

“She assimilated into that culture so strongly that that’s where she transferred her identity.” “She assimilated into that culture so strongly that that’s where she transferred her identity.” Dolezal went on to earn a master’s degree from Howard University and is now a professor in the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University.

It’s clear that she has accomplished a lot and no one can deny that she’s worked hard, unfortunately her misrepresentation of her race may be the undoing of all that hard work.

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